How much further could we get if we all worked together? That’s the question cancer researchers, healthcare providers and foundations like Swifty have found ourselves asking more and more. In the battle against children’s brain cancer, everyone belongs on the same side.

And yet, too often we’re competing.

As researchers struggle for grant money and organizations struggle for donors, there’s a tendency for a culture of secrecy to grow. Researchers keep their findings to themselves – and others end up retesting disproved theories or repeating data analysis.

That’s a waste of time, of money and of research tissue. And it leaves our children waiting.

We must strive to collaborate, not compete, in our work to find a cure.

When we work together, we get further faster. The more data that’s available to researchers and doctors and the more efficiently cancer foundations operate, the more progress we’ll make toward better treatments.

And yet, that’s not what always happens.

When it comes to beating cancer, the costs of working separately are high:

  • Researchers retread the same ground. Because researchers must compete for grant funding, there’s a tendency to keep negative findings private. In other words, successes are shared in publications, but failures are not. This creates redundancy when one researcher spends time and money disproving a theory that another researcher has already disproved.
  • Foundations slow the process. Much of pediatric cancer research is funded by not-for-profit foundations, but each one is different, with unique rules and applications. Researchers tell us more than 50 percent of their time is spent writing grants and seeking funding. That’s time that could be spent in the lab.

To make faster progress in treating pediatric brain cancer, researchers must share data openly. And the foundations that support them must learn to collaborate and standardize the funding process.

With your help, that’s what the Swifty Foundation is doing now.