In 2015, the Astellas Innovation Debate™ explored whether recent advances in genetics and electronic technology can deliver the promise of personalised medicine ‒ a radically different approach to health that individualises the prevention and management of disease to a person’s unique risk profile and biology.
At the start of the millennium, the $3 billion Human Genome Project gave us a tantalising glimpse of this new era of medical innovation. Decoding genes would help us understand the genetic foundation of disease, enabling doctors to predict who was at risk and scientists to develop medicines tailored to individual DNA profiles.
Since then, huge advances in electronic technology have also been made. A single mobile phone today has more processing power than the computers that took man to the moon. We can print in 3D, make batteries the size of a grain of sand and move objects with the power of our brain waves.
Now the genetic and electronic revolutions are colliding, turning the dream of personalised medicine into a reality. But will it be a panacea for all our ills … or do we stand poised to open a Pandora’s Box?
Chaired by broadcaster, Jonathan Dimbleby, i-Genes: What the DNA and Data Revolutions Mean for our Health brought together five influential figures to share their views.
George Freeman, MP, the Minister for Life Sciences, gave a keynote speech, outlining the Government’s aim to develop, assess and adopt new drugs, devices and diagnostics as we move towards 21st century personalised healthcare.
A panel of world-leading experts then debated the issues: American biologist Dr Leroy Hood, whose leadership led to automated DNA sequencing; human rights activist Baroness Helena Kennedy, QC; Professor Lionel Tarassenko, CBE, Head of Engineering, University of Oxford, and Professor Rolf A. Stahel, President of the European Society for Medical Oncology.
- The possibilities that new genetic insights offer for our health
- Whether we can afford the full range of medicines personalised healthcare would demand
- The implications for health professionals – will a mass of data from new technologies create a new army of the worried well and swamp doctors?
- With more of our health data digitised, how long before it falls into the wrong hands?
- At what point does smart care become intrusive surveillance?
- Whether the effort put into these frontiers of medicine diverts resources from the real crises of modern healthcare – such as obesity, antibiotic resistance and neurodegenerative disease?