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Algorithms for Innovation BlogIdeas poised to have a big impact

Mind the Gap: Increasing Diversity in Research Will Open Doors for Precision Medicine
Precision Medicine

Mind the Gap: Increasing Diversity in Research Will Open Doors for Precision Medicine

Science is known for its rigor. Exemplary experiments are systematic and controlled, and, in fields such as medicine, examining large populations is key. Meticulous science has translated into medical advances that are coming at a furious pace. But when it comes to serving minority populations, research has missed the mark. Health disparities have developed, and the risks of this gross oversight have become all too apparent.... Read More
When it comes to CRISPR, patients need a seat at the table
Precision Medicine

When it comes to CRISPR, patients need a seat at the table

Imagine that you are diagnosed with a fatal disease caused by a defect in a single gene. If technology existed that could "edit" the error and cure the disease, would you use it? Would you edit a gene that caused a significant disability, such as blindness? What about for a genetic trait that increases your risk of obesity or alcoholism? Would your decisions change if it were your child’s genome? ... Read More
What’s Quality in Health Care? Giving Patients Back their Time

What’s Quality in Health Care? Giving Patients Back their Time

Battling two rare diseases, Jess Jacobs knew she’d spent a lot of time trying to access health care. Waiting rooms, doctor’s appointments, ER visits and hospital stays: tick-tock, tick-tock. But how much of her time was usefully spent and how much was wasted? Jess, a former innovation director at Aetna, wanted to know. ... Read More
Hey Doc … Zip It: Can you be a good doctor with bad communication skills?

Hey Doc … Zip It: Can you be a good doctor with bad communication skills?

Eight seconds. It’s the length of time that a rodeo cowboy must stay atop a bucking bull to earn a score. Eight ticks on the clock is also how long it takes, on average, before your doctor cuts you off in the middle of your story about where it hurts and when it started. The story you’ve been practicing under your breath in the car on your way to an appointment that’s been circled on your calendar for six weeks. ... Read More
How to speed the journey from discovery to cure: Make a science out of science
Precision Medicine

How to speed the journey from discovery to cure: Make a science out of science

Precision medicine has a commitment problem. There’s no question that understanding the biology behind disease can lead to tailored treatments. Take the cancer drug crizotinib, for example. It can extend the life of some of the 7 percent of lung cancer patients who have an abnormality in a particular gene. But right now, there aren’t nearly enough targeteted drugs like it. ... Read More
Precision Medicine

In cancer treatment, is precision medicine more expensive than it’s worth?

Cancer is expensive. And precisely targeted cancer is even more costly. With specialized oncology drugs now the driving force behind spiking pharmaceutical prices across U.S. health care, cancer treatment highlights the Catch-22 of precision medicine: its life-changing genetic discoveries paired with (at-times) astronomical costs.... Read More
Fueling the Fire: Fostering Women in Science

Fueling the Fire: Fostering Women in Science

Scanning this glossy photo, it doesn’t look like we have a gender problem: A dozen young female scientists are striving and thriving, tackling medical problems from how burns transform fat to the relationship between the microbiota and immunity. ... Read More

The XX Factor

We've still got a long way to go in supporting women in science and medicine. Nationwide, only 20 percent of assistant professors in STEM and medical colleges are women. And pay inequity is alive and well; A recent study of New England researchers found that male scientists received more than 2.5 times the startup funding than their female counterparts did.... Read More
How can we help patients have a good death?
Learning: Who's Responsible?

How can we help patients have a good death?

When Joan Sheetz, M.D., and Anna C. Beck, M.D., met during their work at Salt Lake City’s Fourth Street Clinic for the homeless, they were able to recognize a shared interest in the humanistic side of medicine—the ability to look beyond the illness or injury to the person behind the problem. ... Read More