Being a Part of Personalized Medicine

Last week, we announced the winner of our essay contest for a free ticket to this month’s Personalized Medicine World Conference. Today, we feature an essay by finalist Nicole Mosher, who is just beginning her scientific career.

“Why I Want to go to PMWC”
by Nicole Mosher

For the past three Christmases, I’ve asked for a 23andMe analysis to come in the form of a shiny gift-wrapped present. Now that the price has dropped, I think this might be my year. I proudly displayed a sash saying I graduated with a degree in genetics while most people cringed at the thought of taking a single genetics class. How someone couldn’t be excited about sequencing technology classes and understanding the mechanisms of retrotransposons is baffling to me. It is pretty easy to see, then, why I would want to go the Personalized Medicine World conference. In the most general of terms: I think it’s really cool. The current push towards personalized medicine has everything to do with genetics, and more than anything, I want to be a part of it.

To be a little more specific, after I graduated from the University of California, Irvine this summer, I started working on a project with the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s. Our project’s goal is to give better treatment options to children with recurrent and refractory by sequencing both their host and tumor genome and comparing the two, pulling out all of the differences. However, this is only our major goal. We hope to accomplish much more with all of the data we’re going to be compiling. We want to make personalized medicine a reality for children and, in turn, give them hope.

It would be incredibly beneficial for me to attend this meeting in order to help refractory pediatric patients. I would also love to hear what everyone else has to say about translating genomic data into something that is clinically relevant. Understanding personalized medicine is not just my job, but something I am extremely passionate about and it would be a dream to continue working on projects like this one for a lifetime.

As I was reading the proposed schedule for the conference, I felt excitement swarm within me, I practically danced in my seat. I could have the opportunity to listen to a lecture on the clinical applications of NGS? I say that without any hint of sarcasm. This is exactly what I love and why I am going to continue in this field for my entire life. To be able to treat people correctly the first time around without having to guess at statistically significant chemotherapies will not only save time and money, but it will save lives. The long-term effects of chemotherapy aren’t any prettier than the short term ones and if oncologists were given the tools to accurately predict what each patient needed, the benefits would literally be countless.

Finally, to be able to ‘mix and mingle’ with the world’s leading thinkers (for someone at my age who is still applying to graduate school) would be invaluable. I would be honored to spend two days soaking up knowledge from these top scholars. It would benefit me greatly as I apply it to my distant future in the field, and my near future as a graduate student.