Video: Director of NIH Discusses How to Get Drugs to Market Faster

May 18, 2012

Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, delivered a talk at TedMed 2012 on how to get disease treatments to market faster. He cites two ways to speed up the process.


In April, Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, delivered a talk at TedMed 2012 on how to get disease treatments to market faster. He cites two ways to speed up the process:

1) Repurpose existing drugs by getting pharmaceutical companies to share the drugs "in their freezers" that have shown to be safe in people, but weren't effective in treating the disease they were initially designed to treat. The NIH founded the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences last year, in part, to facilitate partnerships between academia, the private sector, government, and patient organizations and help this happen more quickly.

2) Testing new drugs on fabricated human cells. Collins says, "You can now take a skin cell and encourage it to become a liver cell, or a heart cell or a kidney cell or a brain cell, for any of us. So what if you use those cells for your test to determine if a drug is going to work and whether it's going to be safe?" He goes on to talk about how this will also advance personalized medicine.

The video (start at 23 seconds if you want to skip the intro) includes a neat interview with a 15 year-old with progeria who has taken part in clinical trials of new drug treatments that were initially designed to treat cancer.

What do you, as physicians and healthcare professionals, think about the FDA's drug review and approval process, and the potential for these things to accelerate it?