The Future of Health Care is Personalized Medicine
July 10th, 2013
Peter Keeling comments on the Bill Frist article which discussed how personalized medicine will be the future of health care.
Bill Frist’s excellent article first published in the perhaps obscure G8 magazine and republished here (http://billfrist.com/future-of-healthcare-is-personalized-medicine/) has three personalized medicine messages we at Diaceutics promote:
- There is an unstoppable technological trajectory in genetics, molecular discovery and patient data which enables the personalizing of medicine. Bill’s focus is stem cells but this article could equally be about Minerva, Mount Sinai’s new super computer (http://blog.mountsinai.org/vision/2012/11/07/mount-sinais-supercomputer-ushers-in-a-new-era-2/) or the democratization of next generation sequencing as US oncology partners with Foundation Medicine to bring biological insight to the bedside of community oncologists (http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20130530005411/en/Oncology-Network-Selects-med-fusion-Foundation-Medicine).
- Systems integration in health care, long recognized as a powerful key to unlock health care savings alongside profound clinical benefit, is itself enabled by personalized medicine. In particular, the integration of diagnostics, therapy and earlier biological insight to target disease higher up the treatment pathway will finally illustrate the power of personalized medicine. Our own research to illustrate how systems integration and PM2.0 are natural bedfellows continues (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78DfbmfuzTA).
- These changes herald transformative opportunities (rejuvenation as Bill calls it) for the pharmaceutical industry. We personally witness exciting fresh thinking every week now across those in our client base reorganizing around personalized medicine. The FDA, often accused of feet dragging, is disproportionately rewarding personalized medicine with faster approval times (http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2013/06/23/the-fdas-cancer-czar-says-he-cant-approve-new-drugs-fast-enough/?commentId=comment_blogAndPostId/blog/comment/973-8540-8637).
But (there is always a but, right?) although Bill’s article covers the ‘why’ and ‘how’ he misses the ‘when’! Changes in personalized medicine appear to happen slowly and in a disconnected way, like mini tremors versus a major quake, in comparison perhaps to the popularization of consumer electronics and fast moving integrators like Google and Apple, whose product announcements can easily be connected with our understanding of a new ‘smart’ future. Consequently, it is hard to connect the ‘individual tremors’ in personalized medicine with the ‘future promise’. Many of our own friends in the industry believe personalized medicine will necessarily take a long time. However, to focus on the events rather than the underlying tectonic shifts ignores the fact that health care is being lined up for the big one. We will recognize this when it happens! Google buying AstraZeneca perhaps, because it provides (a very cost-effective) access to patients searching for better health care, or your eighteen year old daughter paying to have her genome mapped because she wants to control her own health care, or Lockheed Martin (masters of integration in defence technology) seeing the opportunity to sell PM2.0 to the US government. Like that other ‘big one’, we know it’s coming but we just don’t know when.