A convergence of bioscience, technology and data science is revolutionizing cancer care — and it’s happening right here in Washington state.
In just a decade, we’ve seen an explosion in genomic technologies and a staggering drop in the cost of sequencing a genome — far more dramatic than Moore’s Law would predict. With this power in hand, we can now find the weaknesses in a patient’s tumor and attack it with targeted drugs.
But this summons another challenge: terabytes of data per person — multiplied, potentially, by the millions each year who are diagnosed with cancer.
It’s clear that cancer researchers, as smart and dedicated as my colleagues are, can’t do it alone.
And we aren’t.
This week at the GeekWire Summit, I spoke about how we at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have made it our goal to bring together our fellow innovators across the city of Seattle, the state and beyond to develop more cures for cancers. We’re in the perfect place to do it.
Washington has a century-old tradition of entrepreneurship that’s birthed a growing multitude of startups in fields ranging from artificial intelligence to data analysis to health wearables. We’re home to hundreds of healthcare companies, the biggest names in cloud computing and a center of excellence in global health. We are passionate about changing the world.
People in tech are used to competition between companies like Microsoft and Amazon. But we’ve found that in the drive to cure cancer, competitors are working together to save lives. Here’s what we can achieve when we come together:
We’re poised to take our four decades of research data into the cloud, a move that will enable team science with the best researchers in the world, securely and in real time.
We’re harnessing the best minds in diverse scientific fields to accelerate the prospect of not just treating cancer — but curing it — in areas like immunotherapy and pathogen-associated cancers. We now know that infectious diseases cause up to 20 percent of cancers worldwide. If we can address the infection, we can prevent the cancer.
And with mobile apps, wearables, chat bots and other technology tools, patients are becoming well-equipped to take on their own health challenges.
With more than 770 healthcare innovation companies in the state of Washington, we have an opportunity to partner with biotech firms, global health organizations, cloud solution providers and other companies to save lives from cancer. If you’re interested in putting Washington on the map as the place to cure cancer, I’d encourage you to contact us.
By collectively coming together to accelerate new discoveries and commercialize their development, we have the opportunity to bring more treatments, to more people, than ever before. And we can continue to feed the ecosystem of health care innovation in Washington state.
Two years ago, I made a bold statement that caught me a lot of flak: In ten years, we’ll have curative approaches for most if not all cancers. Now we’re at eight years to go. Rather than have discussions about whether this is possible, we should focus our attention on getting it done. This is the time for action, not talk.
To make it happen, we need more partnerships among innovators in every sector to bring the best science to all patients. People are dying right now, waiting for cures — waiting for us. For their sake, we must do everything in our power to realize this potential.
Washington state is well-known for airplanes, software, coffee and e-commerce. What if we could make it known as THE place to cure cancer?
Read more at fredhutch.org/cures2025.