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Archive - Feb 5, 2018


Genome Medical, Luna DNA, Blockchain Technology, All-of-Us Program, and Human Genome Variation Map Featured on Final Afternoon of Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC) 2018

The afternoon Track 2 (Genomic Medicine) sessions of the final day of the Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC) 2018 began with a talk by Lisa Alderson, Co-Founder and CEO, Genome Medical, that was titled “Harnessing Genetic Insights to Improve Patient Care.” Ms. Alderson had previously served as CSO at Invitae and as CEO and President of CrossLoop, Inc. She had also been the manager of Strategic Planning at Walt Disney, Co. The other co-founders of Genome Medical are Randy Scott, former CEO, Invitae; and Dr. Robert Green, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and Director of the Genomes2People Research Program. Ms. Alderson opened her talk by posing the question—how do you tap the health-improving potential of the 325 million genomes in the US, with only about 6,000 genetic experts to rely on? She said that Genome Medical is the country’s first nationwide genomics practice. By offering easy access to clinical genetics experts through a digital health platform, Genome Medical is accelerating the integration of genomics into everyday health care. According to its web site, Genome Medical was founded to bridge the growing gap between available genome technology and current medical practice. In an age of incredible medical achievements and the advancement of DNA sequencing, many physicians, patients, and healthy individuals lack access to the advantages of genetic testing. Genome Medical exists to improve the logistics of ordering pertinent genetic tests and combine them with the appropriate genetic counseling for the benefit of individuals and their families. Each person’s unique genome significantly impacts health, severity of disease, and response to therapy. The genome isn’t responsible for all disease, but it is connected to virtually every aspect of well-being throughout a lifetime and across many conditions.

Novel Combination Cancer Therapy, Innovative Approach to Regional Cancer Care, Tissue-Agnostic Drug Approvals, Liquid Biopsy, and Metabolomics Featured on Morning of Day 3 of Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC) 2018

Track 1 (Patient-Centered Care) of Day 3 of the Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC) 2018 began with a presentation by Ron Levy (photo), MD, Professor and Chief, Division of Oncology, Stanford University School of Medicine. Over a decade ago, Dr. Levy developed the first FDA-approved antibody for the treatment of cancer, rituximab, which is now used for every lymphoma patient, either as a standalone treatment on in combination with other therapies. Dr. Levy’s talk on this day was titled “A Better Way to Trigger the Immune Response Against Cancer.” Dr. Levy outlined a new combination immunotherapy approach that is described in a January 31, 2018 Science Translational Medicine article ( In a mouse model, Dr. Levy’s group showed that intratumor injection of the combination of unmethylated CG-enriched oligodeoxynucleotide (CpG), a Toll-like receptor 9 ligand (TLR9), and anti-OX40 antibody led to shrinkage of distant tumors and long-term survival of the animals, even in a stringent spontaneous tumor model. Low doses of CpG injected into the tumor induce the expression of OX40 on CD4+ T-cells in the microenvironment of the tumor. An agonistic anti-OX40 antibody can then trigger a T-cell immune response that is specific to the antigens of the originally injected tumor. TLRs are components of the innate immune system that recognize molecular patterns on pathogens. In mice, the combination of CpG, TLR9, and anti-OX40 was shown to cure multiple types of cancer and to prevent spontaneous genetically driven cancers. Dr. Levy noted that one of the most spectacular results was seen in a model of spontaneous breast cancer where the combination treatment eliminated the cancer from all ten mammary glands in a very short time. Dr.