Precision Medicine will need to get out of the pharma silo that is based on symptoms

Welcome to the digital era of biology (and to this modest blog I started in early 2005).

To cure many diseases, like cancer or cystic fibrosis, we will need to target genes (mutations, for ex.), not organs! I am convinced that the future of replacement medicine (organ transplant) is genomics (the science of the human genome). In 10 years we will be replacing (modifying) genes; not organs!

Anticipating the $100 genome era and the P4™ medicine revolution. P4 Medicine (Predictive, Personalized, Preventive, & Participatory): Catalyzing a Revolution from Reactive to Proactive Medicine.

After low-cost airlines (Ryanair, Easyjet ...) comes "low-cost" participatory medicine. Some of my readers have recently christened this long-lasting, clumsy attempt at e-writing of mine "THE LOW-COSTE INNOVATION BLOG". I am an
early adopter of scientific MOOCs. My name's Catherine Coste. I've earned myself four MIT digital diplomas: 7.00x, 7.28x1, 7.28.x2 and 7QBWx. Instructor of 7.00x: Eric Lander PhD.

Upcoming books: Airpocalypse, a medical thriller (action taking place in Beijing) 2017; Jesus CRISPR Superstar, a sci-fi -- French title: La Passion du CRISPR (2018).

I love Genomics. Would you rather donate your data, or... your vital organs?

Audio files on this blog are Windows files ; if you have a Mac, you might want to use VLC ( to read them.

Concernant les fichiers son ou audio (audio files) sur ce blog : ce sont des fichiers Windows ; pour les lire sur Mac, il faut les ouvrir avec VLC (

"Regenesis" : de la biologie synthétique.

La biologie synthétique : la nouvelle informatique ? D'ici à ce que des bactéries dont on a modifié le génome fabriquent de ... l'électricité ! VERSION FRANÇAISE.

Tout cela est traité dans "Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves". Auteurs : George Church and Ed Regis. (Basic Books, 284 pages, USD 28, octobre 2012). Ce livre, à ma connaissance, n'a pas encore été traduit en français ...  

"It once seemed that the most profound feats stemming from DNA-based science would spring from our ability to read and detect genes, which we call the science of genomics. But the real opportunities lie in our ability to write DNA, to synthesize new gene sequences and insert them into organisms, resulting in brand-new biological functions. Printing novel DNA might open the way to achievements once only conceivable in science fiction: designer bacteria that can produce new chemicals, such as more efficient fuels, or synthetic versions of our cells that make us resistant to the effects of radiation."

Voici donc venue l'ère de la médecine préventive : "Then there is the multiplex automated genetic engineering machine invented by Mr. Church and three colleagues from Harvard. This tool makes the process of synthesizing new genes much faster. One of the most promising, although controversial, applications is to re-engineer the human genome itself 'for the purpose of preventing many diseases from occurring in the first place.' The tool holds great promise. Imagine if we could remove from our genomes the 'host machinery' that viruses need to replicate, potentially making us immune to illnesses as ordinary as the flu." 

On apprend (ou plutôt redécouvre) que les révolutions médicales (ou autre domaine) se font par les barbares, et non les empereurs. Lesdits barbares ayant accompli leur révolution font partie de la nouvelle élite (empereurs, bourgeoisie) : "When there were concerns about recombinant DNA in the early days of synthetic biology, for example, researchers imposed a moratorium until the risks could be contained. When gene therapy was believed to harbor latent risks, research was largely put on hold until the risks were better understood. Sometimes, the theoretical risks have led to a principle of absolutist precaution that impedes progress. Today the Food and Drug Administration so tightly regulates gene therapy that few new ventures go forward. But, Messrs. Church and Regis argue, the practical promise of a technology will ultimately prevail. 'The industrial revolution that the Luddites tried to prevent in 1811 has brought us enormous benefits,' they write." 

Si l'on peut fabriquer des organismes humains, cela amènera forcément des enjeux de sécurité : s'achemine-t-on vers le règne des "biohackers" de tous poils ? "The more elusive problem isn't safety but security—'preventing the deliberate misuse of engineered organisms,' as the authors define the concept. DNA synthesizers are small, cheap and easy to procure. The technical means for harnessing these tools is relatively straightforward—within the grasp of scientists of modest training. The instruction sets are also easily found on the Internet. Rogue regimes and lone villains could one day exploit these scientific methods for diabolical aims. Such a security breach could play like the plot of the 1995 hit film 'Twelve Monkeys,' where a wicked scientist engineers a virus that nearly drives mankind to extinction. With the advent of what the authors call 'garage biology,' Messrs. Church and Regis think, such scenarios are no longer wildly implausible. 'In the end, we found no magic bullets for absolutely preventing worst-case scenarios, no fail-safe fail-safes.'"

La génomique nous promet-elle des bouleversements encore plus importants que ceux apportés par l'Internet ? "Many point to the Internet as the defining technology of our age. When history is written centuries from now, it is more likely that writing DNA will be the most enduring innovation, so long as we keep it in safe hands." (Source)

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Personal genomics in the classroom: Students sequencethemselves