NEW ORLEANS, La. -- It's raised millions for inventors, entrepreneurs, and filmmakers, but can “crowdfunding” on the internet do the same for scientific research? Now you can be one of the first to help doctors find new cures.
Scientists work at their lab benches for years, eyeballing cells with super magnification, hoping the fruits of their hypotheses and experiments will make our lives better.
But researching new treatments comes with a cost. And with NIH funding down, fewer scientists are getting their grants funded.
"It's a very frightening time for researchers in trying to get their projects funded, and especially junior researchers, who haven't had a proven track record out there yet with funding groups," explained Mary Brown, Vice President for Health Science Systems, and the Vice Dean for Administration at Tulane Medical School.
Now for the first time, a medical school is merging the concept of “crowdfunding” on the internet with researchers in the lab. Through microryza.com, 13 Tulane doctors are posting their projects in hopes that you'll be a part of their next big medical discovery.
"If the researcher has put out a target of $5,000, if they reach $5,000, then it's done and it's taken off the web and the money's sent to the researcher. If it doesn't reach $5,000, then it's all or nothing. The researcher gets nothing," said Brown.
When you donate, you get a tax deduction and a code to follow the doctors' progress through a video diary. With his project, Tulane professor of urology and oncology, Dr. Benjamin Lee, hopes to give people with kidney cancer a better treatment.
"Can nanotechnology help deliver cancer treatment more directly to help treat kidney cancer? And that potential is very exciting. Even just a dollar will help in helping other patients who have this deadly disease," said Dr. Lee.
Each doctor has only 45 days to raise funds.
If you want to read about all 13 Tulane research projects, or donate, the full project list is available, by clicking here.