Genetics: A New Age of Enlightenment

In an era where good news seems to get short shrift, Id like to highlight to some encouraging news about a positive advancement in cancer diagnosis and treatment.

The Baltimore Sun recentlyran a feature story about a genetic test called Oncotype DX that provides a look at the inner workings of a breast cancer tumor and helps doctors determine whether chemotherapy is the right treatment.

Whether its Genomic Health or any of the other very promising life science companies that we see at Mohr Davidow Ventures, whats clear is that the healthcare industry is rapidly moving out of the dark ages when it comes to developing and using genetic tests for diagnosis and treatment.

Jonathan Weiner, a professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health summed it up best when he said, This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are only a dozen or so examples now, but one day there are going to be thousands [of tools and tests].

More importantly, the growth in this industry will lead us to improved patient care. Thats something we can all feel good about.

In the interest of full disclosure, I serve on the boards of Genomic Health and of the Harvard Center for Genetics and Genomics Advisory Council.