Can 2017 top 2016?

In the life sciences, 2016 brought us many significant developments, and thank goodness, it’s mostly exciting and great to talk about those in length. I am talking here about technological advancements, the many new applications next-generation sequencing is seeing, genetics moving into the clinic, precision medicine finding its mark in oncology and beyond, immunotherapy establishing itself as the leading weapon to attack cancer, and more.

The significance of these developments is further manifested with clinical omics taking shape, hospitals adopting new applications, and testing and treatments that are based on next-generation sequencing, omics data, and more. The results speak a clear language: improved diagnostic tests, and more precise therapeutics.

Here a few highlights – not an all-inclusive summary – of what made 2016 so exciting.

2016

Next-generation sequencing matures

In 2016, we’ve reached a stage where the limitations of next-generation sequencing is not at the level of sequence data generation anymore, rather the limitations are associated Continue reading

2015 – A Year of Health Initiatives, Commercial Milestones, Company Acquisitions, and Scientific Achievements

2015 was a fast moving and busy year in the many fields of science, next-generation sequencing, diagnostics, and of course precision medicine. A lot can be attributed to technological advancements particularly in next-generation sequencing which has shaped where we are today. Resulting applications are growing, building on major research findings, evident in the clinic and in industry achievements in areas of aging, obesity, the precision medicine initiative, diagnostics, the $1,000 genome, liquid biopsy, NIPT, new approaches towards breast cancer treatment, and much more.

PMiUnprecedented press clearly went to the purposeful Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) with its launch at the State of the Union address by the President in early 2015. Since then this year has brought us a flurry of activities related to this prominent initiative: building an advisory committee to the NIH Director (ACD), the creation and approval of the ACD’s working group report, the announcement of initial funding opportunities, the
White House addressing and releasing Privacy and Trust Principles, the announcement of the 2016 budget, and last but not least the launch of the precisionFDA community platform at the end of the year.

Companies have reached new milestones. 23andMe, with a $1 Billion evaluation, has entered the drug discovery arena via building its own unit and large pharmaceutical collaborations that will mine their massive customer DNA database (>800,000). The Continue reading

UCSC Genomics Institute’s Director David Haussler Addresses “Data Solutions in Clinical Genomics” Questions

UCSCThe following blog is a repost of a recent post by Tal Behar, Co-founder & Executive Director at PMWC Intl, on LinkedIn Pulse. We believe this post – a set of questions and answers to the UCSC Genomics Institute’s director David Haussler – is of interest to the enlightenbio audience which is why we requested the repost. It addresses big genomic data questions related to the clinical setting, such as large-scale genomics activities under way or in the process of getting started, the efforts of the Data Working Group of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) and why this working group is needed, observed challenges with data storage, analysis, and sharing platforms, and last but not least what other organizations or commercial companies can learn from organizations like the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute. Continue reading

At Bio-IT 2015 Big Data via Integration Platforms for Data Analysis, Patient Monitoring, and Collaboration

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Last week’s Bio-IT World Conference and Expo in Boston was attended by more than 3,000 scientists, members of the pharmaceutical industry, and subject matter experts to discuss latest requirements in data analysis, management, and storage, and in the context of all of that, cloud computing and data integration.

For me the conference started out with an excellent keynote session by Chris Sander from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center discussing on how to deliver Precision Medicine in cancer while touching upon the fantastic insights into the molecular diversity of tumors as provided in the Cancer Genome Atlas. He finished up with describing the cBioPortal which organizes data for over 20,000 tumor samples from 89 cancer studies. Following Continue reading