From Left to Right: Dr. Matthias Stephan, Dr. Denise Galloway, Dr. Fred Appelbaum, Dr. Kathi Malone, and Dr. Kiran Dhillon
September 2015 marks the 40th Anniversary of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Fred Hutch). How has science and the environment in which it’s conducted changed over the last 40 years. I recently got invited to take part in a conversation with some very talented scientists at the Fred Hutch to reflect on these questions. Here‘s a link to excerpts of the conversation that were published in the 40th Anniversary edition of Quest Magazine.
The Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle held a conference this week that focused on systems biology and cancer. Experts from all over the country were brought together to share their work on how biological and clinical data derived from a single patient or big data derived from thousands of patients can be analyzed, integrated and, ultimately, used to treat that patient or others like him or her. The technological developments of the past decade and half allow us to generate large amounts of data from any given individual. These data include the individual’s genetic sequence, the levels of different genes being expressed in their cells, and other clinically relevant information. A big challenge for physicians is how to bring the benefits from these technological advances into the clinic to benefit patients.
During the conference, Dr. Tony Blau, a physician scientist from the University of Washington, described how having access to large amounts of data has changed what ‘doing the best we can’ for a patient means since he first started treating cancer. He urged that it is time to bridge the enormous the gap between the rate of growth of current technological advancements and the rate at which these advancements are making it to the clinic. He discussed some of his own efforts toward this goal in a TEDx talk earlier this year. Check it out for yourself!
I was blown away by this 5 minute speech by high school student Riyanka Ganguly. In an Ignite Seattle speech entitled ‘I Like Pink But That Does Not Mean I Can’t Think,’ Riyanka beautifully challenges stereotypes and preconceived notions that young girls (and grown women) encounter as barriers to their success–especially those of us interested in science. Riyanka is an unapologetic go-getter. She started a chapter of Young Women in Bio at her high school and I can’t wait to see all the places she’ll go!