The personalized medicine community has convened in Boston for the Ninth Annual Personalized Medicine Conference. Last night, the Personalized Medicine Coalition welcomed more than 250 attendees to the Boston Museum of Science and the new Hall of Human Life exhibit to kick off the two-day event. As colleagues gathered, the prevailing conversation focused on how far personalized medicine has come. It has been nine years since we first gathered researchers, academics, policymakers, clinicians, patient advocates and other stakeholders to identify the key questions facing – at the time – an emerging approach to healthcare.
Then, and over the years since we first gathered, we have often spoken of the “promise of personalized medicine.” Today, as the Personalized Medicine Conference opened, we focused on how that promise has come to fruition. The personal stories of panelists who carry a dual title of “healthcare expert and patient”, or “genomics expert and caregiver”, riveted the audience and provided a poignant reminder of the need to continue to encourage and enable innovation and access to personalized approaches to care.
One leader in the field, who embodies the promise of personalized medicine is Kathy Giusti, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Founder and CEO. This year, the Personalized Medicine Coalition honored Kathy with the 2013 Leadership in Personalized Medicine Award. The award recognizes an individual whose work and contributions are advancing personalized medicine research, product development, reimbursement and policies. Kathy Giusti has done all that and more through her passionate and driven work to empower patients and advance research in multiple myeloma.
The unique and creative business model Kathy employs at MMRF has yielded both clinical and personal results. Clinically, MMRF has funded research and paved the way for FDA approval for six multiple myeloma treatments in 10 years, and doubled the lifespan for many patients. Today in her remarks, Kathy shared that her daughter, who was just one year old when Kathy received her myeloma diagnosis, is now a 19-year-old college student with a younger brother. Incredible results.
The Personalized Medicine Conference continues to be an important gathering for information sharing, consensus development, and, just as critically, these inspirational moments that remind us all that the Age of Personalized Medicine is here as we continue to gain more evidence each day that the science is moving us toward more personalized approaches to research and care.
As Kathy shared at the podium, “I accept this award on behalf of all of you, because you are here as innovators in a field where patients desperately need you. You are here because you are innovators in the field of personalized medicine. You are going to change the lives of thousands and thousands.”