Why Cancer Patients Should Get Genetic Sequencing with Bryce Olson [Interview]


The science and technology is there
today to help any advanced cancer patient understand what’s driving their
disease. If you have a doctor that’s not supportive of helping you understand
that, find another doctor. Genomic sequencing is a way to personalize a
diagnosis and also a treatment strategy. Whether you have breast cancer, prostate
cancer, lung cancer–disease is not a one-size-fits-all. It’s unique and the
answers are in the DNA. My name is Bryce Olson and I’m the global strategist for
Intel’s health and life sciences group when people hear me talk they think that
I must be some PhD and I’m not. I’m just a regular guy whose back was against the
wall. You know, I had to figure this out otherwise I was gonna die. I’ve been battling metastatic advanced cancer for almost five years, yet right now, today, I
have no evidence of active disease. I feel morally obligated to be able to
share with people what I did and help them do the same thing that I did. When I
got diagnosed, I went through that one-size-fits-all, everybody gets the
same treatment paradigm, and it didn’t work. So I kind of started to lose hope
but then I learned about genomics through the work that Intel was doing I
called up my pathologist and I just had two words for him. I said ‘sequence me.’ So when you sequence my normal tissue and look at the normal DNA building
blocks of my blood, and then you compare that to the DNA of my tumor, there are
some differences–and those differences are what are driving the cancer. The insights that you get out of
genomic sequencing are threefold. First is: is there an FDA-approved drug for my unique driver of disease for my cancer type. The second is: is there an FDA-approved drug for a different cancer type, but that I
share the same genetic drivers for. The third is: Are there clinical trials and
new drugs that are being developed that are a great fit for what’s driving my
disease. Those are the three different treatment options that become available
to you and that is all new doors that are above and beyond the standard of care. So Intel’s technology underpins the entire genomics guided precision medicine workflow. We went from a period where it took ten years and almost three billion dollars to sequence the first genome to something today that can be
done in a day for a thousand bucks. Really, I mean today it’s for advanced
cancer patients but I think in the future, the moment you get diagnosed with
cancer you’ll get genomic sequencing. Today we’re living in this world where
we are awash with data. We need companies like Intel that can sift through all
this data and find patterns that maybe the human eye doesn’t see.
And in the case of healthcare, these patterns and new insights can be life-saving. Technologies like artificial intelligence are speeding
that up and making it much more efficient and faster and accurate. But the only way they’re
going to be able to figure it out is if we give more data to the machines to
find patterns that don’t exist when you look at small amounts of data. The more
patients that get genomic sequencing enables more data to be out there for
researchers so they can start to create new drugs that would go after mutations
that we don’t even know how to stop today. People always ask me, ‘So where
should I go get my DNA sequenced?’ If you’re going to an academic cancer
center, they all have the ability to do this for you. If you’re going to a
community hospital all they have to do is send the specimen–which is your
sample, your tumor sample–to a place like foundation medicine, and in
two to four weeks you get back the results. We all deserve to feel new hope. “Sequence me” is a call to action. I want every advanced cancer patient out
there to go into their doctor’s office and say two words: Sequence Me. Demand genomic sequencing because genomic sequencing can open up
new doors to fight cancer.