Big Data, Big Biology, and the ‘Tipping Point’ in Quantified Health: Takeaways from Xconomy’s On-the-Record Dinner

4/26/12Follow @bvbigelow

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address everything, Stevenson said there are practical ways to collaborate by taking on tasks that could be more easily accomplished. For example, Stevenson said Life Technologies has provided its Ion Torrent genetic diagnostic tools to help develop individualized treatment regimens for a small group of 18 women in Phoenix, AZ, who were diagnosed with so-called “triple negative” breast cancer.

“For me, the tipping point starts in critical disease areas,” Stevenson said. “So, oncology patients, newborn children with neurological disorders, and infectious disease.”

Laura Shawver, an ovarian cancer survivor who founded the Clearity Foundation so molecular diagnostics could be used to help develop more personalized therapies for other ovarian cancer patients, embraced the idea.

“San Diego is very entrepreneurial,” said Shawver, who also is the CEO of San Francisco-based Cleave Biosciences. “We all live it. We all do it. The thing that really bothers me is when I hear somebody say personalized medicine is the way of the future. No! It’s here and now.” For cancer patients in particular, she added, “When your life is on the line, you’ll do whatever it takes.”

Eric Topol

Several participants agreed that getting most patients to “buy in” to a quantified health program would likely be problematic—and so is patient compliance.

“I have patients and I tell them to use a Fitbit or a BodyMedia armband or whatever, and they use it for three months and after that it just kind of fizzles,” said Eric Topol, the prominent San Diego cardiologist and director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute.

“It is going to require behavioral change, but we can’t fundamentally change behavior anytime soon,” said Rick Valencia, who oversees a host of wireless health initiatives as vice president and general manager of Qualcomm Life, a Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) subsidiary. “We have to … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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  • Abdallah Al-Hakim

    Great article and one that touches on a very important topic for Digital Health.

    Mount Sinai hospital in Toronto recently launched centre of personalized genomics and innovative medicine (CPGIM) which is aims to enables and promote the implementation of personalized health care approach to the diagnosis and treatment of hereditary diseases. The program aims to link the patients, physicians and researchers together to share date and disseminate information.

    It is all exciting work towards getting the most out of “big data” and “big biology”

    For more on CPGIM – http://innovativemedicine.ca/