As the professor of the Medical Clinic Department of the Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (UFES), who obtained his master in hematology at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG) and is a coordinator of the hematology services at the Hospital Evangélico de Vila Velha (ES), Dr. Marcos Santos believes Brazil will remain stagnant in cancer research fields while clinics stay solely dependent on industry sponsorship. The ARD Foundation’s work creates an opportunity to change this situation by providing much needed incentive to independent researchers.
“From the perspective of someone who works at a public institution, conducting clinical research in Brazil is extremely difficult, especially in regards to development and distribution. Through the researchers’ own means, for example, it’s practically impossible. The majority of the clinical researches done in this country are financed by industries that, despite greatly helping the patients, have their own interests,” he says.
According to Dr. Santos, a new member of the ARD’s medical board, bureaucracy is one of the main obstacles independent researchers who wish to carve their own path face.
“Even if I have the knowledge to conduct a research, the institute might be blocked due to queries from the ethics and research council. All of this takes time and disheartens people. Twice I tried to study certain effects iron has on the kidney of people who frequently need blood. I didn’t follow through. Through my own means alone, it is very difficult.”
When it comes to researches on new cancer therapies in Brazil, the doctor is also pessimistic. To Dr. Marcos Santos, foundations such as ARD can provide valuable help:
“The studies in progress in Brazil are, for the most part, industry studies. Perhaps the greatest thing a non-profit foundation, which has its focus on the result [we can get] for the patient, is the financial and technological support [they offer] so that we, the researchers, can create our own statistics. Brazil is really lacking in data. If I want to talk about a disease, I don’t have the correct data for this country’s situation and instead have to use statistics from the United States or Europe. There are excellent researchers in and out of university with great aspirations.”