Wafaa El Sadr, PhD, MPA, global president of ICAP, has been featured in an interesting Nov 30th article on Global News Wire that reported that ICAP had been awarded a seven year contract from the U.S National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a component of the next nationwide clinical research funding cycle (2020-2020). The article stated that Wafaa “has been granted its own independent clinical research testing contract from the US National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Center for Clinical Research Planning”. According to the article, Dr. El Sadr is with the Maryland Institute for Medical Research at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. In addition, he is also the chief medical officer of the newly formed ICAP.
The article went on to say that the purpose of the Clinical Research Organization is to “provide an independent forum for the collaboration between healthcare organizations and the pharmaceutical industry for the development of new treatments, especially those with life-threatening diseases”. The first clinical research award from this organization will be to study the safety and effectiveness of an anti-inflammatory agent in patients with arthritis. This agent has shown promise in the field of rheumatoid arthritis by reducing pain, stiffness, and swelling in the body of its patients. The agency is also looking into developing a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s patients as the disease affects memory and behavior. Alzheimer’s is one of the most rapidly spreading, costly, and preventable diseases in the United States.
The article went on to detail how Wafaa and ICAP had combined their resources to secure these highly sought after grants and create a website to help make it easier for clinical researchers to apply for grants. It went on to highlight several of Wafaa’s key programs such as its flagship program WANAP – which stands for “Wide Area Public Awareness Program”. The program encourages communities to get involved in collecting and submitting grant applications to support research and development for a variety of health issues. In addition to the website and its grant award making programs, Wafaa has also launched a training center to provide medical professionals across the nation with the latest information related to this important enterprise. The goal of the training center is to ensure that all healthcare professionals are up to date on the latest in this important business aspect.
The Global News Wire story went on to highlight a few other awards that Wafaa has received, including a $75,000 grant from the Canadian government for research that will focus on Alzheimer’s. The wire did not mention any of the financial sponsors for the award, but it is fair to assume that some of the major players in the news media world were contacted and given specific information regarding this one grant. Also mentioned was a story that went online to promote the awards and it included the following quote: “The Canada Foundation for Health and Social Services (CPFS) has funded more than two dozen projects dealing with diseases such as dementia, malnutrition and tuberculosis.” Again, this is the Canadian government, which is a great partner and a very progressive force in the world of healthcare. Clearly, WAFAA is a leader in bringing world attention to these important health issues and we look forward to learning more about their projects.
A couple of things we noted in that we read on the Global News Wire story were the comments that were included by Wafaa about privacy issues, and that they had obtained the data independently. We can’t necessarily verify that, but it does seem to us like a company in an attempt to maintain their independence may have requested and/or obtained the wire story in question. The whole thing got me thinking about just how important independent and private press is and how it relates to the role of the press in our society and the freedom of expression. This is a very good and interesting discussion and deserves a closer look.
At the end of the day, anyone that is concerned with free speech should be concerned about the use of such tools. In fact, this whole situation raises some concerns about the freedom of expression in the Internet and elsewhere. However, it is also incredibly important for anyone with access to computers to make sure that they are safe from bad people who could potentially use that access to do harm. It is not too much to say that anyone with malicious intent will use the opportunity of gaining information to do harm. And if you’re an innocent journalist trying to do your job and get reliable information from sources you trust, you could find yourself in trouble. That’s why it’s so important to exercise good judgment when relying on online information, regardless of whether it comes from a reputable source like Global News Wire or your favorite neighborhood blog.