On the Mendeley blog we’ve often talked about ways that crowdfunding is helping to finance some important research projects. This month’s guest post features a campaign which already surpassed its goal of raising $300,000 to enable a study into a treatment for Multiple Sclerosis, using stem cells to potentially repair the damage caused by the disease. MS affects over 2.3 million people worldwide, with about 200 more being diagnosed every week. The Tisch MS Research Center in New York (Tisch MSRCNY) is dedicated to finding the yet-unknown cause of this devastating illness and eventually curing it. Here they talk about their work and what they hope to achieve.
By: Dr. Saud A. Sadiq, Director at the MS Research Center of New York
In August of 2013, our non-profit laboratory and research center received FDA approval for a groundbreaking Phase I Clinical Stem Cell Trial. This exciting milestone took over ten years of research to achieve and brings indescribable hope to MS patients and their loved ones all over the world.
The study utilizes adult stem cells harvested from the patient’s own bone marrow and attempts to repair the damage caused by multiple sclerosis. This trial is the first of its kind to be approved in the United States. Funding is like oxygen for research. Without financial support, our research into regenerative therapy cannot survive. Since Tisch MSRCNY has not received federal, state or corporate funding to cover costs of this study, they decided to use Indiegogo to secure the critical funding that is needed to take this forward.
Tisch MSRCNY launched its first crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.com last month, spearheaded by newly elected Chairman of the Board of Directors, David Greenstein. David also provided the inspiration and hope illustrated in the video that was created for this campaign. “It was only natural to turn to the industry-leading capabilities and international reach of Indiegogo to help bootstrap the crowd sourcing needed to enable this important clinical trial,” stated David. The campaign reached its minimum goal of $300K but is still seeking support to fund the study, so people can continue to get in touch for more information and ways to help the work even after the official closing deadline. They can also do this via the Tisch MS Research Center Website.
Since the launch of the Indiegogo campaign, the cutting-edge research being conducted at Tisch MSRCNY has received more awareness. The center has achieved a greater presence on social media and has connected with the top MS bloggers who have helped spread the word about this important initiative. A sense of community has developed as patients, friends, supporters and philanthropists have to come together to give this mission wings to fly.
The most popular campaign perk has been the Stem Cell Star which features a photo of stem cell harvested in the Tisch Laboratory. Other perks include Article Dedication in which a donor will be acknowledged in the next research publication by a Tisch MSRCNY researcher. There are also opportunities to spend an Evening with the Researchers and take a Private Tour of the Tisch MS Laboratory with Dr. Sadiq.
We’re interested to hear from the Mendeley community about any crowdfunding initiatives they are involved with or perhaps about research they are considering for crowdfunding. Do you think that these new ways of funding medical research are important, or are there concerns that need addressing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!