The Biggest Data Problem
The New York Times is currently running a series called “Genetic Gamble.” The series covers new approaches to treating cancer based on genetic data and analysis.
The writing is very human with the reader accompanying patients on their journey from the discovery of their cancer through the treatment of it. The Times’ coverage is by turns fascinating, heart wrenching and hope inspiring. These feelings are all the stronger if you have ever known someone who has suffered through cancer. And who among us hasn’t?
The stories made me even more proud of First Round’s support of DNAnexus. They are tackling The Biggest data problem.
But, the stories also made me angry. As a people, we haven’t done enough to fight cancer. We’ve chosen other battles. We’ve chosen to allocate our resources elsewhere. Early this week, I was bemoaning this to a friend and I wrote to him that in this election cycle we need a Presidential candidate to say:
There is no greater external threat to the health & safety of the American people than cancer. It is a natural born suicide bomber. It has killed more Americans in the past year than in all other wars in US history. It is responsible for the deaths of more Americans than Al Qaieda. Make no mistake, it is more lethal and determined than any terrorist. Now let’s go get the f–k.
And then we would get dollars reallocated for research, ease FDA restrictions on experimental treatments, and provide physicians pushing the limit with protection from malpractice complaints.
We have the capabilities. Now let’s choose to beat it.