Shaping the Future of Personalized Medicine

Science is harvesting more and more information about the human population, and individual patients specifically. Medicine is understanding the roles of genomics and the environment in a patient’s medical history. Yet translating this data to practice has proved difficult. The fundamental question for a physician is still: will this treatment work for my patient?

How can the wealth of medical information be factored into patient medical records and into everyday care — more quickly, more usefully and more completely?

How can insights into individual patients — gleaned from in vitro and in vivo diagnostic tests — allow us to zero in on targeted therapies?

Watch Live Event Recasts: Event 1  |  Event 2

Meet the Challenge Team

The Challenge Team Members are leaders in their fields and reflect multi-disciplinary, passionate and thoughtful perspectives for the Challenge they represent.
Challenge Team members participate in the discussion held by the Great Challenges community, and will be creating responses to questions submitted by the community on the discussion tab.

  - look for this icon throughout the Great Challenges discussions. It is used to identify comments posted by the Challenge Team members.

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Ashley Dombkowski
Chief Business Officer, 23 and Me
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Ashley joined 23andMe in July 2011 as Chief Business Officer. Prior to joining 23andMe, Ashley was Managing Director at MPM Capital, a healthcare-dedicated venture capital firm where she spent eleven years advancing the work of innovative, entrepreneurial healthcare companies. Previously she was a Healthcare Equity Analyst for Tiger Management and for Dresdner RCM Global Investors. Dr. Dombkowski holds a PhD in Mathematics from Rice University and received a BA in Mathematics from Wellesley College.


As a scientist and entrepreneur, I have dedicated my career to building innovative health care companies. In that capacity, I have been privileged to work with extraordinary teams that have turned breakthrough technologies into products that truly help patients. But of the many technologies I have seen over the years, among the most novel and disruptive on the horizon involve scalable, resource-sparing ways to improve participation of patients in improving the healthcare paradigm. Specifically, I am excited by the way that deep, long-term consumer engagement can increase clinical development success rates, allow more meaningful assessments of the clinical and economic superiority of therapeutics, and enable real-world, real-time outcomes to be understood. Furthermore, I am encouraged by the wealth of technology enabled tools that entrepreneurs are developing to address this need.
Ashley Dombkowski
Chief Business Officer, 23 and Me
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Amy Miller, PhD
Vice President of Public Policy for the Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC)
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For nearly a decade, Dr. Amy Miller, Vice President of Public Policy for the Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC), has worked with innovators, scientists, providers, and payers to reach consensus on policy issues impacting personalized medicine. Before joining the PMC, Dr. Miller worked in the office of the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health where she served as a liaison among the scientific community, the legislative branch, and the consumers of mental health care and their families. A former AAAS fellow, she also served as a domestic policy advisor to Senator Jay Rockefeller. She began her career as a researcher at National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Dr. Miller received a BA from the University of New Orleans and holds a doctoral degree in Human Development from the University of Connecticut.
As a coalition building organizing all the sectors of the personalized medicine community, I have seen the vitality and creativity that supports innovations in the field.  In my work, I identify factors that prevent health care targeting and work to overcome them through education, advocacy, and community building. It is my goal to make personalized medicine the standard by which our nation improves health care though efficiencies in the system and targeting treatment to those who will benefit, sparing those who will not.
Amy Miller, PhD
Vice President of Public Policy for the Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC)
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Michael J. Pellini, MD
President and Chief Executive Officer, Foundation Medicine
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Dr. Pellini joined Foundation Medicine as President and Chief Executive Officer in May 2011, bringing a breadth of experience in life sciences and the clinical diagnostics and laboratory industries to the company. Dr. Pellini came to Foundation Medicine from Clarient, a GE Healthcare Company, where he held the position of President and Chief Operating Officer. Dr. Pellini joined GE Healthcare through the integration of Clarient, Inc., where he worked with the company’s leadership team to drive critical regulatory and reimbursement strategies in parallel with the development and commercialization of multiple diagnostic tests. Dr. Pellini’s leadership was instrumental in building Clarient to the highly successful acquisition by GE Healthcare in October 2010.

Prior to his tenure with Clarient, Dr. Pellini served as Vice President, Life Sciences at Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. where he leveraged his business and medical expertise to explore new market opportunities and to support Safeguard’s partner companies. Prior to Safeguard, he was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Lakewood Pathology Associates, a national molecular and pathology services company, which was acquired by Water Street Healthcare Partners in 2006. Prior to that, Dr. Pellini was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at BioAdvance, where he was responsible for reviewing and evaluating early-stage life science companies. He also served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Genomics Collaborative, Inc., a Boston-based biotech firm that was acquired by SeraCare Life Sciences, Inc. in 2004.

Dr. Pellini received a BA from Boston College, an MBA from Drexel University and an MD from Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Pellini serves as a member the Boston College Technology Council, the Executive Committee of the Jefferson Medical College Alumni Association, and the Board of Trustees for the Coriell Institute of Medical Research.
I have spent the last 15 years working at the forefront of applying learnings from the human genome project to the practice of medicine. As an MD with a strong family history of various malignancies, and a former investment banker, it became clear to me that the earliest economic and clinical benefits of this newfound genomic insight would come from in the form of helping oncologists and pharmaceutical companies understand each patient’s cancer at the level of its molecular blueprint. The advent of next generation sequencing, and the impact it will have on the practice of oncology, has only cemented this commitment. 
Michael J. Pellini, MD
President and Chief Executive Officer, Foundation Medicine
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Rebecca Sutphen MD
President and CMO, InformedDNA
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Rebecca Sutphen, M.D. is a board-certified clinical and molecular geneticist with broad expertise in the assessment and application of advanced genetic technologies and tests to personalize the prediction, prevention, diagnosis and management of a wide variety of health conditions.   She previously founded and directed the clinical genetics programs at Moffitt Cancer Center and All Children’s Hospital, both in Tampa Bay.

As President and Chief Medical Officer of InformedDNA, she currently leads a national team of board-certified genetics specialists providing genetic counseling services by telephone and the web, and providing expert consultative services to health plans, healthcare and provider organizations, laboratories and pharmaceutical companies. 

As Professor of Genetics at the USF Morsani College of Medicine, Dr. Sutphen has led a translational research program focused on personalized medicine, with funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and the American Cancer Society, among others.  She has received numerous clinical awards and honors including "America's Top Doctors" and "Best Doctors in America” and has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed scientific articles as well as the recently published Johns Hopkins University Press book Confronting Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer:  Identify Your Risk, Understand Your Options, Change Your Destiny.  
As a physician, molecular geneticist and researcher, my 20 years in the genetics community have focused on helping people get personalized and actionable genetic information.  Even when people have access to genetic test results, I have witnessed the many barriers both doctors and patients face when trying to translate those results into concrete ways to optimize health.  As the pace of emerging technologies and tests has increased dramatically, I have also seen policy-makers struggle with how to maximize the benefits of personalized medicine while remaining cost effective.  As president of an organization that delivers telegenetic counseling, I work with healthcare providers, policy-makers, and patients to overcome those barriers.
Rebecca Sutphen MD
President and CMO, InformedDNA

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Challenge Team Perspectives

We selected 10 questions out of the many submitted by our Great Challenges Community, to be addressed by each of our Team members.
See their responses and perspectives, below.

Question 1

What are the biggest ethical issues posed by personalized medicine – e.g., keeping an individual’s genetic information confidential and guarding against genetic discrimination – and what steps are needed to protect patients from such harms?
Response from Amy Miller, PhD

Responses By Team Member:

Amy Miller, PhD
Rebecca Sutphen MD
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