This year’s Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC) 2017 in Silicon Valley welcomed 1,300 biotech professionals, 40 sponsoring companies, and 30 exhibitors from around the world and featured presentations by a number of towering figures in the field. The meeting was co-sponsored by Stanford Health Care, Intermountain Precision Genomics, the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF), and the Duke University School of Medicine. Among the over 150 session speakers were James Allison, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Immunotherapy Program at the University of Texas (UT) MD Anderson Cancer Center; Leroy Hood, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Science Officer, Providence St. Joseph Health; Yiwu He, Ph.D, Global Head of R&D at BGI (Beijing Genomics Institute) in China; Rade Drmanac, Ph..D., Chief Science Officer of Complete Genomics, a BGI company; Irv Weissman, M.D., Director of the Institute of Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine, Stanford School of Medicine; Jennifer Doudha, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry & Molecular & Cell Biology, University of California-Berkeley; and Mark Fischer-Colbrie, President and CEO of Labcyte, the acoustic liquid handling company. Themes of immunotherapy for cancer, scientific wellness, liquid biopsies, biomarkers, the gut metabolome, genome sequencing, learning from big data, precision liquid handling via the use of sound, and the power of CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing dominated the three full days of stimulating sessions. Dr. Allison kicked off an early Monday morning session with a description of his seminal work over the last 30 years that has run from identification of the long-elusive T-cell receptor to his identification of the CD28 molecule as the T-cell’s gas pedal and the CTLA-4 molecule as the T-cell’s brakes.
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