The TEDx Experience

On Saturday July 16, I had the opportunity to present at the TEDxSoCal conference held here in Long Beach. The overall theme for this event was “thriving,” and appropriately, I presented in the afternoon session called, “well-being.” My lecture was entitled “The Future of Cancer Research Lies Behind Us.”

I chose this topic in light of the growing recognition that genomic analyses are not providing the therapeutic insights that our patients so desperately need. As I have written before in this blog, the Duke University lung cancer gene program, which has received much attention recently, is emblematic of the hubris associated with contemporary genomic analytic platforms.

I reviewed the contemporary experience in clinical trials, examined the potential pitfalls of gene-based analysis, and described the brilliant work conducted by biochemists and cell biologists, like Hans Krebs and Otto Warburg, who published their seminal observations decades before the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA.

I described insights gained using our ex-vivo analytic platform, that lead to treatments used today around the world, all of which were initially discovered using cell-based studies. More interesting still will be the opportunity to use these platforms to explore the next generation of cancer therapies – those treatments that influence the cell at its most fundamental level – its metabolism.

Many attendees stopped me after my lecture to thank and congratulate me for my presentation. Fearing that my topic might have been too esoteric, I was delighted by the reception and more convinced than ever that there are many enlightened individuals who thirst for new approaches to cancer treatment. It is these people who will forge the next generation of therapy.

Looking Forward to TEDxSoCal

I remember my first recollection of the TED (Technology Entertainment Design) conferences, which have been held annually for almost two decades. Drawing together innovators in a broad spectrum of disciplines, these programs have become an institution unto themselves. With invited speakers ranging from Harvard’s Edward O. Wilson to business leaders, like Microsoft’s Bill Gates, the lectures cover a panoply of interesting topics.

It was with a sense of delight that I received an invitation to speak at the TEDxSoCal conference on July 16 at the Long Beach Terrace Theater. As the date approaches, I am looking forward to the event with great anticipation. Since the event is sold out, I understand I’ll have 800 attendees in the audience.

What an interesting opportunity to engage this group in a discussion of cancer biology with our focus on biochemistry and metabolism. This is timely in the context of Gina Kolata’s recent article in the New York Times on the failures of genomics platforms in the field of functional profiling for cancer treatment.

I will report next week on this experience.