Strides in Fighting Cancer, Plus BluePippin in Primetime

It’s not every day you turn on 60 Minutes and see your own product on the screen. In last night’s episode, the news show profiled Los Angeles billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, whose array of companies is tackling everything from data storage to entertainment to drug development. Our BluePippin automated DNA sizing instrument had a neat cameo appearance (check it out at 1:54 on the video).

60 Minutes’ Sanjay Gupta interviewed Soon-Shiong about his efforts to fight cancer. The strategies will be familiar to many in the genomics community: tumor sequencing for personalized treatment; liquid biopsies to find and analyze circulating tumor cells; and immunotherapy to recruit immune system cells for cancer destruction. Soon-Shiong’s insights into cancer behavior and the audacious goals for his NantWorks companies make the video well worth a look.

Among the highlights: Soon-Shiong’s partnership with BlackBerry to create a smartphone-like device that would guide doctors’ treatment decisions with personalized information about each patient, as well as his predictions about when we’ll emerge from what he calls “the dark age of cancer treatment.” The interview was so cool we’d be recommending it even without the BluePippin appearance — that was just the icing on the cake!

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