Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Gift that Keeps on Giving

It’s been over a decade since chemistry Professor Edward Taylor retired from Princeton. Yet, according to the Times of Trenton, the University still reaps the benefits of his famous discovery. In the 1980s, Taylor teamed up with a colleague to create Alimta, a drug that treats mesothelioma, a lung cancer “caused by exposure to asbestos.” After 11 years of trials and countless years of refinement, the drug went on the market in the mid 1990s.

Remarkably, the profile reveals that the University is still collecting royalties on Taylor’s drug. These royalties will fund much of the construction costs for the new chemistry building set to open next fall.

Such a discovery, Taylor reveals in the profile, would be highly unlikely today because of universities’ and research grants’ unwillingness to provide funding for such an audacious project: "Imagine [today] asking for funds for a project to investigate butterfly wing pigments and the occurrence of their structure in a compound found in liver. And, by the way, it's remotely possible that, 60 years from now, the result may be a blockbuster cancer drug.”

The full profile, which details Taylor’s remarkable career, can be found here.

By Andrew Sartorius, staff writer


Ban Asbestos Now said...

Such a cool story and so great to see the long-term benefits of the research, from the mesothelioma treatments to the on-campus construction being funded as a result. If only organizations weren't so hesitant to support "audacious project" like this - great things can happen!