Valentine’s Day is done for another year, and today is not only President’s Day, but also Innovation Day. A day dedicated to identifying new and better ways to solve problems and do things. It is fitting that George Washington’s birthday was chosen as the day to celebrate innovation. The first president of the United States trail-blazed the path for the independent and innovative America we know today. Meanwhile, superficially, the two themes of Valentine’s and innovation may seem completely unrelated, but they are not. Both are driven by love and human needs. A human love for the environment and a need for energy has resulted in wind turbines, solar panels and recycling plants. A human affinity and need for communication has led to smart phones. At SAVE JON we are no different. We are an innovative team driven by a sister’s love for her brother and a need for a cure.
Innovation improves many areas of our everyday lives, from how we work, communicate and travel, to keeping fit, learning and socializing. Just think how many emails and texts you’ve sent today, how you brewed your coffee and how you checked the weather. The likelihood is that most people weren’t doing those things the same way twenty years ago, or even doing them at all. Products of innovation are all around us.
When it comes to science and medicine, we may not be immediately aware of how innovation can impact our lives in a big way. Thanks to innovation, some tragic injuries or illnesses are less debilitating today than they used to be. Patients with renal failure can perform kidney dialysis at home. Diabetics can monitor their own glucose levels. An arthritic hip can be replaced with new material to ease pain and movement. Biomedical research has produced great innovative solutions to healthcare needs in the last century. However, the very essence of innovation is not to settle for current solutions, but to keep building and improving on them. That’s exactly what we’re about at SAVE JON.
For us, every day is innovation day. Right now, we are working to build a solution for a complex and unresolved problem: PSC. However, we have had to take an innovative approach to the global process of curing disease in order to deliver innovative solutions to the specific problem of our patients’ disease. So, we would like to celebrate today by telling you how we are innovating for tomorrow.
Similar to other innovators, we have started with a problem and a need. Our problem is PSC and we need to cure it. Traditional biomedical research would address this problem with a strategy utilizing the limited resources at hand: funding, tools, knowledge and willing collaborating experts. As these are the limiting resources for biomedical research, time has to be seen as less of a constraint. However, we are approaching the problem from a PSC patient’s perspective. Patients do not have the time to wait for a solution. Therefore, we have taken all the assumptions about what is possible off the table. Time is our new critical design constraint. We need to work faster. In order to work faster, we need to make sure all of the other resources are available and suit our needs. Therefore, rather than competing with other researchers for funding, we are working with all researchers to share knowledge, expertise, and data. We are sharing tools. We are sharing ideas. Most importantly, we are sharing our goal. We believe that a need combined with a strong will and a collective force to address it will result in a faster solution. We are figuring out a new way to cure rare diseases, and in doing so we hope to pave the way for other solutions too. We hope that what we do here, others can build upon, just as we build on the strengths of innovations past.