By Kristen Bole | UCSF.edu | May 1, 2013
More than 150 of the nation’s top innovators will convene Thursday and Friday in a summit at UC San Francisco that aims to leverage science and technology to transform health and medicine as we know it.
Designed to generate actionable projects and collaborations, rather than simply discussion, the OME Precision Medicine Summit on May 2 and 3 will bring together leaders in health, bioscience, technology, government and other fields to lay out a roadmap and remove barriers for the evolving field known as precision medicine.
This field promises to harness the vast advances in technology, genetics and biomedical research to understand the roots of disease, develop targeted therapies, and ultimately provide predictive, preventive and precise care to patients worldwide.
The summit is being spearheaded by UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, who has been a national leader in advancing precision medicine. The concept itself was first formally spelled out in a 2011 National Academy of Sciences report co-authored by Desmond-Hellmann and Charles Sawyers, MD, chair of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center who trained at UCSF. The report called for transforming medical care by integrating the wealth of data emerging from the human genome and other fundamental research on the molecular basis of disease, with information from patients' health records, and social and environmental data.
"Medicine is at a major crossroads now," said Desmond-Hellmann. "We have made great strides in saving lives based on more precise therapies, but there is still so much we don’t know in terms of what causes most diseases and how to prevent and treat them."
An oncologist by training, Desmond-Hellmann also served as president of product development at Genentech Inc., where she led the development of two of the first cancer therapies based on precise targeting.