Dr. Mehmet Oz
W. Daniel Hillis
Dr. Mehmet Oz Cardiac surgeon and host, The Dr. Oz Show
I'm very excited -- really jazzed up about personalized medicine, in part because it puts a little pressure on us as patients to recognize that it's not a cookie-cutter solution. Carbs may make you fat; they might make me skinny. But it also opens up a whole array of opportunities for me to figure out exactly where my risk factors are, where my weaknesses are, so I don't have to have my blood test done the same way you'd get your blood test done. And I think if we look at the waste that happens in the system of health in America, the misperceptions, the mistakes that occur, they're so frequently around the fact that I gave you what works for most everybody else, but you're one of the 20 percent of people who don't respond.
This is true for chemotherapy for cancer. This is true for the surgeries that we do. It's true for the way we screen people for diseases like prostate cancer and breast cancer. Frankly, it's true for how you respond to aspirin because we know that probably a quarter of the population doesn't respond the way the rest do. So every fundamental decision we make in healthcare, which we have historically said, "This is what we do, therefore it is what we should do for you," now it has to be tailored with the reality that we can figure out if it will work for you, which buys us time, reduces complications and saves a ton of money. That's smart medicine.
W. Daniel Hillis Co-founder, Applied Minds
So today, when you go to a doctor, what the doctor is trained to do is put you into a category. Saying, "Ah, you have appendicitis. This is what we do to people with appendicitis." Or, "You have stage 2 melanoma. This is what we do to people with stage 2 melanoma." Those categories are kind of arbitrary. They sort of make sense for infectious diseases, so if you have malaria, you're infected with a certain kind of disease. And so we know that quinine will help you.
So when you're infected, it makes sense to put you into a category because infectious diseases come in categories. But a lot of diseases, like cancer, where it's just your body doing the wrong thing, it doesn't really make that much sense to put you into a category. And so what we need to do instead is just treat you as an individual -- what's actually happening in your body, right now. And that's different than what's happening in anybody else's body, ever before. So make up a custom treatment exactly for you.
So I think that's where medicine is heading in the future. And that's what personalized medicine is about. As we're getting to do more and more. As we get more and more information about you, we're beginning to customize the treatment for each person, especially. And right now, the primary technology that we use for it is genetics. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Proteomics is going to give us a thousand times more information.
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