On Friday 14 September William F. Crowley from the Massachusetts General Hospital will talk about “Changing Models of Biomedical Medical Research or Interregnums are Tough for Young Investigators” in the History of Biomedicine Lecture series at the NIH. He will address a basic phenomenon in biomedical policy in the postwar period:
Over the past 60 years, biomedical research has operated under Vannevar Bush’s 1945 vision outlined in “Science: The Endless Frontier”. This unidirectional vision of bench to bedside movement of science has served the government, academia, and industry quite well. However, with the recent availability of more powerful phenotypic tools such as those of the Human Genome Project and ‘omic’ technologies, the starting point of biomedical inquiry has become patients, their tumors, and their diseases. The policy implications of each of these two models of biomedical research in terms of space, resources, and academic recognition are somewhat different and their implications are discussed.
This is an interesting topic — actually one that Peter Keating and Alberto Cambrosio dealt with in Biomedical Platforms (2003). If I remember their point righly, they meant that ‘biomedicine’ is the intertwining of these two ‘models’ and that it therefore doesn’t make sense to set them up against each other.