What is happening with eczema innovation on the East Coast?
Eczema doesn’t respect national borders. It’s something hundreds of millions of people around the world live with. As a patient and blogger I like to keep up with advances made around the world. I have my Google Alerts set up and other feeds open for information. At times it can seem like the world is flat and stuff is happening everywhere at once.
But is it true? Are research advances being made everywhere? The natural way for a reporter or blogger to proceed is to learn about hotspots of innovation and then pay attention to those hotspots. I wanted to know whether I was missing out on anything, so I decided to create a map of the world, listing all the game-changing people I knew who were working to solve eczema for us, in the lab and in the clinic and in their patient advocacy groups.
The result is the Eczema Map Project, hosted on my blog. It’s a world map of everything that I think matters.
Check it out! You might learn something. (More to the point: leave a comment. I might learn something.)
It’s a work in progress. I’ve already added and deleted several listings and changed category names a few times. For one thing, at the moment there are no commercial companies listed. I am thinking of listing both the big pharmas that make generic topical steroids and calcineurin inhibitors, as well as the smaller companies that are developing new therapies.
On the Eczema Map Project things are much as you’d expect. That is, most of the action is taking place in the United States and western Europe, and hardly anything apart from a few patient associations is happening in Africa, Asia (apart from Japan), and South America.
But if you live in the USA, as I do, you can’t help but be aware that traditional power has always been centered on the eastern seaboard, for almost anything you care to think of. Government. Military. Finance. Academia.
What do you see on the eastern seaboard of the Eczema Map Project? Far less than you’d expect, for an area that contains Boston (MIT, Harvard, etc.), New York City (Sloan-Kettering, Rockefeller, NYU, Columbia), Washington DC (Johns Hopkins, NIH), Philadelphia, etc. There’s hardly anything on my map.
Is that because there is nothing, or because I’m ignorant? Surely the latter.
I think we’ll find out that most of the big pharmas are in New Jersey. But why is it that I, who have been blogging about eczema for going on three years, have heard very little about research and innovation on the US east coast? Why has the response from the people I’ve contacted about this map been, largely, that everything that matters is already listed?
That is a question I’ll be looking into.