At first, I thought Give to Cure was like all the other advocacy organizations out there. You know, the ones without a cushy endowment, the ones that need to solicit all or most of their funds from the general public. AFAR, AHAF, ALS Association, MRA, NORD—there’s a bunch of them. I started reading up on Give to Cure, the spunky outfit with a seriously hip website boasting a “crowdfunding” approach to Alzheimer’s disease, and I thought, “Crowdfunding? Isn’t that what all these advocacy organizations are doing?”
Answer: no. Give to Cure's approach really is different. Its process is to solicit proposals from researchers with Alzheimer’s projects in the Clinical Trial phase; review the proposals and chose the most promising ones; then open up those promising trials to the public, which can fund them directly. It’s a smart, savvy, may-the-best-proposal-win situation. Except in this case, all the selected proposals garner some level of support from the public (well, presumably, at least) and after that point, GtC will act as a benevolent pass-through, disbursing the funding to the projects as they need it.
Treatments in the clinical trial stage have a higher probability of success and a faster time to patient than traditional early stage research, yet they suffer from a “'translational valley of death' in funding,” says the official RFA. “By supporting clinical trial research, GTC helps bridge one of the scientific community’s largest obstacles in its efforts to find a cure for Alzheimer’s.” Generally speaking, clinical trials have a one in five shot at success, so over the course of its lifespan, GtC hopes to fund enough of ‘em to “statistically find a cure that helps.” Pretty neat, eh?