Can a New Way of Thinking Deliver the Promise of Precision Medicine?

November 25th, 2016

Cute positive boy with glasses laying on green grass ground and looking up at camera and thinking

Those of us involved in personalized or precision medicine (PM) understand the huge impact it should have on everyone’s life and healthcare in general if all the stakeholders work for the good of the patient. This ideal represents the end of the journey but inevitably we are focussed on the practical demands of the next few stages. And the highly specialized nature of the space means we tend to focus on the particular area that interests us, or where we have expert knowledge, which means our vision can narrow again to the distance of our own headlights.

Sometimes it takes people with only a peripheral interest in a subject, who don’t seem to be directly involved, to see the alternative routes that can be taken, and this ‘what if?’ mentality is the foundation for the November 2016 TedMed event (

The sessions are hosted by people who may be a long way from the lab or the pharma team. And because of their distance from traditional approaches to medicine and health they are able to examine some wide ranging concepts. Some of the TedMed sessions include:

  • What if visionaries ruled the world?
    Featuring disruptive thinking applied to therapeutics for aging and the microbiome, new tools for diagnosing cancers, accessible models of global philanthropy, creative methods for delivering care to those in need, engaging public health initiatives and managing long-term disease.
  • What if we re-examine the way we frame health challenges?
    Topics considered for this session include the treatment of rare diseases, homelessness, robotic vision, and mental illness with fresh paradigms.
  • What if we could expose and confront invisible threats to health?
    Topics considered include suicide, pandemics, trafficking, environmental toxins and poverty.

The ideas presented here are similar in aim to those of the PM Connective ( whose mission is to construct a new business model and valuation framework for personalized medicine:

“Based on ongoing research and collaboration with thought leaders across all healthcare industry stakeholders, we will create and validate an integrative new business model that will deliver profound clinical and financial benefits in personalized healthcare.  Once developed, the PM Connective will disseminate this model throughout the community in an effort to stimulate discussion, support the development of improved collaborative structures, and accelerate innovation in personalized medicine.”

We have been working to realise the promises of PM for many years now. The delivery on the clinical promise is well underway – new approved targeted therapies prove that molecular targeting of patient subsets delivers significantly better outcomes and Diaceutics’ analysis of pipelines illustrates that the best is yet to come. In contrast, delivery on the financial promise, for example, has barely begun. It may take a new way of thinking, like the ideas being generated at TedMed, to let us speed up and reach the final destination at the same time, a place where personalized medicine models benefit everyone.

Diaceutics CEO Peter Keeling will be live tweeting from TedMed. Follow him on

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