Success Rate of Medical Projects?

Sorry, I’m not sure even how to title this question but ; This morning there was yet another story in the newspaper about a medical experiment (on mice, I think) that showed great promise in curing some human ill, but any such result would be years away. Something like that seems to get announced almost weekly.

What is the success rate on these? Do most fizzle out or do they eventually result in a widely available medical advance? I seldom if ever hear of something becoming available that started with mouse-level (or whatever) experiments years or decades ago.

Does someone keep track of this type of thing? Are there any examples of outstanding successes? (And, I can understand where even a low rate of success could still be welcome if it delivers something good.)

Having worked in the high-tech world this is reminding me of marketing forecasts - lots of them, but you never hear of anyone going back to see if the forecasts were accurate.

Most of these promising announcements are actually just companies shilling for investors to fund their continuing research and to show a profit to the owners.

<8% in cancer, apparently.

Public researchers aren’t shy about calling the press either. Some journalists looking for science stories will report on published research, and as usual misreporting the results.

Nobody writes a puff piece for the news “Another Medical Experiment Ends In Failure”

Most such experiments, when they show one round of promising results, then the scientists or the company backing them or someone reading the experiment write-up for a journal take that good result and write up an article for the popular media which glosses over the details in order to announce the Second Coming is at hand. Further experiments show the results are nowhere near as rosy as before.

Pharmaceuticals are especially good for this. One analysis I read said that a lot of modern drugs are only marginally better, if at all, than their older off-patent and much much cheaper predecessors.

It’s not just medical… Think too about cold fusion. Announced with a splash, then nobody could consistently reproduce the results. Another example, if you follow tech news dozens of companies have announced breakthroughs that will increase the capacity of batteries up to 10 times current (sorry) capacity. Always, these are just a few years away.

I am sure Si Amigo is quite right - it’s trolling for investors as much as anything… or pumping stock, especially if the company’s stock is available on the local exchange.

Define “success”. If it’s “The exact same technique, using the same equipment, drugs, and procedures without modification, cures cancer in humans without side effects”, then the success rate is so close to zero as to be not worth mentioning. But if it means “the results of this experiment provided valuable insights into the prevention or treatment of disease, or the prolonging or improving of quality of life, in humans”, then the success rate is close to 100%. Standards in between those will likewise have success rates in between.