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Friday, 30 November 2012

Progress on Personalized Medicine? Updates from Harvard.

@HealthMed The 8th annual Personalized Medicine Conference took place at Harvard this week - a joint venture of Harvard Medical School, Harvard Business School and Partners Healthcare, lead by Professor Raju Kucherlapati, from the HMS Department of Genetics. Worth checking the excellent archive of past programmes, presentations and podcasts.
Meantime, some of the highlights?
- An excellent narrative on the partnership between Plexxikon (Peter Hirth) and Roche Diagnostics (Suzanne Cheng) to create a companion diagnostic/therapeutic pairing for vemurafenib (Zelboraf), the first FDA approved pairing for BRAF V600E positive metastatic melanoma
- Further case studies illustrating successful drug development using genetic approaches
- Personal case studies on the impact, clinical value and ethical and clinical challenges of genomic screening: from Joe Beery, Life Technologies, on detecting unrecognised treatable serious early childhood disorders, to John Lauerman, Bloomberg News, on consequences of sequencing for asymptomatic adults - questions on penetrance and future screening for onset e.g.  of metabolic disease and cancers
Harvard Medical School: New Research Building - Avenue Pasteur.
- Clinical potential, and regulatory and reimbursement challenges to introducing molecular diagnostics into clinical care pathways
- Leadership award to Randy Scott, In Vitae, whose discussion points included the relevance of Moore's Law (technology advancing) and Metcalfe's Law (people factors: exponential increase in interaction as network expands) to developments in personalized medicine
- Business models and their governance for use of genetic information
- A North Virginia (John Vockley, Inova) pioneering series of projects aiming to assess outcomes of neonatal genomic sequencing: from insight into preterm labour to prospective longitudinal follow-up to adulthood, supported by multi-generation family member sequencing combined with clinical histories
- The US Air Force Programme on Patient-Centered Precision Care (Dr Cecili Sessions), in partnership with the Coriell Institute and Johns Hopkins University,  aims of which include understanding the impact on health-related behaviour of providing personal genetic information on remediable medical disorders and on drug responses.
- A business school case study led by Professor Richard Hamermesh, Director of the HBS HealthCare Initiative, on reactive and proactive responses for development of companion diagnostics (1).
- Pros and cons of liberal vs. restrictive approaches to IP for genetic and other molecular diagnostics
- Engaging the policy community and the public in ethical, clinical, reimbursement and adoption issues for new diagnostics and treatments aimed at personalizing medicine, including case studies from the American Medical Association and the American Assocation for Cancer Research.

Personalized Medicine Conference website 
Companion and coupled diagnostics

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