Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with Mark Hodosh about the $10 million Archon X Prize in Genomics. The interview is published in the January 2008 issue of Nature Medicine. Ten million bucks is a lot of cash, and I wondered why award so much to speedy gene sequencers.
Apparently, the major technical breakthrough needed to make personalized medicine a reality is what is at stake. Personalized medicine means a fundamental shift in the way people are treated. Instead of reacting to symptoms and diseases with drugs and procedures, doctors will be able prevent disease altogether. Think of it: proscriptive not prescriptive medicine. That’s like knowing your car will break down before it does because a warning light goes off.
Compared to how many billions of dollars prescriptive medicine costs us each year, 10 million to get us a closer to personalized medicine seems like a bargain.