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“As I lay dying” – A Powerful Personal Exhortation

by

Laurie Becklund

This moving opinion piece in the LA Times was just shared with me by Adam Carroll (our CSO and co-founder), which was written by a distinguished foreign correspondent, Laurie Becklund, who just died of breast cancer.

In this piece Laurie lays a withering blow on modern healthcare and advancements in personalized/precision medicine through a couple of highly informed paragraphs:

“We now know that breast cancer is not one disease. What works for one person might not for another: There is no one “cure.” We are each, in effect, one-person clinical trials. Yet the knowledge generated from those trials will die with us because there is no comprehensive database of metastatic breast cancer patients, their characteristics and what treatments did and didn’t help them.”

“In the Big Data-era, this void is criminal. Consider what Wall Street does. Even the tiniest companies can see how much stock they sell, compare themselves to cohorts, review history, predict trends. Why can’t we create such a database for cancer patients, so we can all learn from patient experiences and make more educated decisions on what treatments will extend and improve lives?”

Who is going to create such a database, which can collect the individual information available from the countless “one-person trials” described by Laurie?