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 (

9 mind-blowing facts about the dysfunction of American health care, with Legos!

"Biologists find an early sign of cancer"

"A Brief History of Humankind" by Yuval Noah Harari

The World In 3013

My Questions On DRM

DRM (Digital Rights Management): 

1. Are DRM protections actually adding or substracting value to a product?
NB: value in use not the same thing as market value!
DRM cause the market value of a product to be higher while value in use will be lower:
What happens is: you buy a product with DRM at a higher price; but DRM are here to put limits to the use you can make of it -> lower value in use.

How would I like this as a client/consumer/customer? Not so much.
How would I like this as a conglomerate? Probably a lot, wink wink.

2. Do DRM raise the cost of products? Do they raise the value in use (can you do more things with the product you bought)?

3. Are DRM paradoxical?
Yes, if they always raise the cost of products and never raise the value in use. Otherwise, no.

4. Cory Doctorow (@doctorow) -- boingboing -- wrote: "DRM fails completely at preventing copying, but it is brilliant at preventing innovation". Is Cory right? (oops, almost wrote: is copy right, lol)

(source of quotation:

5. More and more products are including a software. Does this mean the end of property?
Copyrighted softwares have become the frequent case scenario, there are more and more of them, so when a consumer buys a product, he is not the owner of the software included in the product he bought. This is the case for a whole range of products, TV, car, watch...

6. Because of copyrighted softwares included in the products we buy, will we become tenants/renters/occupants instead of owners/proprietors? (end of property?) Will we rent a product instead of buying it? Is that even a problem, by the way? I'd be curious to know what people have to say here.

7. Can you give examples of DRM being beneficial or detrimental to you, in your personal or professional life?

DRM are here to protect IP (intellectual property). Of course IP is a *vast* topic...

Found it this morning, on Cory's twitter account: "Doctorow's elegant phrase: "Digital rights management always converges on malware."

"What's on the horizon for brain research"

"Hackers are Innovators. Creativity is as important as literacy"

"Homo Sapiens is a profit-driven species"

"Personnellement je pense que la génomique pourrait à terme réduire le marché de la médecine réparatrice ... et cela ne doit pas plaire à certains ... il faut toujours essayer de comprendre pourquoi les gens disent ce qu'ils disent ... sachant que l'Homo Sapiens est guidé par son intérêt ..."

"My personal opinion is that genomic precision medicine will eventually disrupt replacement medicine... Now some people will embrace the change, some others won't, depending on where their interest lies. Homo Sapiens is a profit-driven species."

Jean-Michel Billaut, a French start-up validator.

"Stanford researchers create 'evolved' protein that may stop cancer from spreading"

"Our ability to digitize human beings"

Doing Cancer Research In Your Kitchen

"Driving Backwards" by Jessica Lander

"Undermining Science"

"Fixing DNA is like using Microsoft Word: Find & Replace"


"3-D printing human organs is a long-range moonshot goal. 18 people die every day in U.S. waiting for an organ"

"GUBS a Language for Synthetic Biology"

"Last month, a team led at the University of Washington announced they had devised and successfully tested a programming language that can guide the assembly of synthetic DNA molecules into a circuit that can perform a task, just as a software developer would write code to send commands to a computer.

Chemists have always used mathematical models to study how molecules behave in mixtures. “Instead of thinking of this as a descriptive language that allows you to understand the chemistry, we said, we’re going to create a prescriptive language that allows you to program something,” says Georg Seelig, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the school.

While there’s no killer app anywhere near ready yet, possible future uses for being able to design and assemble DNA to perform a specified function are wide-ranging. Seelig imagines programming molecules to act as embedded sensors inside cells that could respond to changing conditions, just as internal electronics guide the operation of automobiles or home appliances. For example, he says DNA systems could be instructed to release a drug every certain number of hours or in response to an abnormality detected in a cell. “Cells do things like that all the time. They sense their environment, they respond to it,” he notes.
In a paper published in Nature Nanotechnology, the researchers describe a basic experiment they used to test their theoretical work. They mixed two types of DNA strands (“A” and “C”) in a test tube. If there were more A than C, the system was instructed to convert all of C into A. If there were more C than A, all of the A type would become C.
A lot of work remains, but the broader field of synthetic biology is growing. “It’s nice and well to do this computation in test tubes, but really where this kind of implementation is useful is when you want to control cell behavior.” Article by JESSICA LEBER


"Peter Thiel's Uncomplementary Views of Big Pharma"

Quantitative Medicine

"$1 million prize incentive to create an artificial liver!"

Using MinION sequencing machine, sitting at my kitchen table...

... like so:
"One scientist this month tweeted a picture of the sequencer on his dining room table, decoding DNA."

Having your genome sequenced at your own request or initiative is forbidden by law in France. L.O.L.

"David Deamer made this sketch in 1989 when the idea for nanopore sequencing came to him. One day in 1989, biophysicist David Deamer pulled his car off California’s Interstate 5 to hurriedly scribble down an idea. In a mental flash, he had pictured a strand of DNA threading its way through a microscopic pore. Grabbing a pen and a yellow pad, he sketched out a radical new way to study the molecule of life. Twenty-five years later, the idea is now being commercialized as a gene sequencing machine that’s no larger than a smartphone, and whose effects might eventually be similarly transformative." Source.

Artificial spleen that could clean blood of future sepsis patients

American Society of Human Genetics Conference 2014 (Oct, San Diego CA)

Evolution of the digitized human being


Here's How I've started Learning Quantitative Medicine

The future of medicine will involve computer programming, big data and genomics. How will the stethoscopes and microscopes of tomorrow look like? The answer lies in your genome, as well as programming languages like Python, or cool "quantitative biology" instruments like MATLAB and R. Ever heard of that (very cool!) genome editing tool called CRISPR?
Picking a MOOC direction is easier said than done... Completing MITx 6.00.1x (python MOOC) is not my goal right now, as it has no contents "re:" genomics. I'm still trying to find the best way to review 7.QBWx MITx & 7.00x MITx course contents -- earned myself both EdX digital diplomas -- and I came up with this idea: I will use this book, as it is very helpful to learning python coding language: "Help Your kids With Computer Coding."

"Intro to systems biology" on Coursera (Mount Sinai) seems very promising, too... 7.00x and 7.QBWx (MIT&edX) were both excellent, great pedagogy & content in 7.00x, fascinating content in 7.QBWx but difficult because no tutorials in python.

Angelia Yulita, a MOOC student from Jakarta, Indonesia:

"I took an edX course from Georgetown: Genomic Medicine Gets Personal and they talked about how system biologists would play a great role for handling the big data. 

I was curious, so I surfed google and found that course from Coursera ["Intro to systems biology"]. So far the course is very interesting and I might decide to take all of the course series for specialization... But still, the quantitative part is challenging! Not as challenging as MIT's quantitative biology workshop 7.QBWx, but still...  

I took lots of courses about quantitative bio and its computational tools. I want to go to grad school and still try to find out whether quantitative bio is right for me or not... I wish I could do well... "


Atul Gawande's New Book: "Being Mortal"

MIT Hacking Medicine

Wanna make the world a better place? Best way to do it: start learning computer coding, here's how

Entendu hier à une réunion d'étudiants MIT-Harvard Med school (Boston): "Ceux qui ne sauront pas programmer (langage de programmation informatique : écrire du code) dans le monde d'aujourd'hui et à venir seront comme les analphabètes du monde d'hier." Par "analphabètes", ils entendent : prolétaires. Il se pourrait bien qu'ils aient raison...

MIT Engineer: "I Say Let Patients Help"

"Le Guide de la médecine du futur"

Trouver ce livre en version anglaise (Kindle Amazon)
Ce bouquin du Dr. Bertalan Mesko vient de paraître. Je vous le recommande ... C'est passionnant... Comme c'est en anglais, petit décryptage : pourquoi lire ce livre ? Parce qu'est en train de se mettre en place une nouvelle médecine, dite quantitative. Elle fait intervenir notre génome, nos données, des codeurs qui savent programmer en langage python, MATLAB, ou en langage procédural R.

Génome, microbiome, métabolome, késako ?? Jamais entendu parler de ces termes. Pourtant, la médecine de demain, celle qui se prépare de par le monde, croise deux compétences qui défient les frontières des pays : le numérique et la biologie. L'union des deux donne naissance à la médecine quantitative, qui d'après la NASA est "la technoloqie du 21ème siècle". 
Récemment diplômée du MIT en Génétique & Big Data et de la Sorbonne en sciences humaines, je suis passionnée par ce projet : expliquer la science au grand public. Suivez-moi sur Twitter:@cathcoste.

For the first time medical educators are facing digital natives

3D Printers with DNA Lasers

"E-Nable. Making prosthetic hands by 3D printing. Posting a map on www of people with printers volunteering to print"

Biology Is Quantitative

"Genomic Entertainment"

The MOOCs that will guide you to the future of medicine

Genomics‬ + ‪python coding language‬ will work wonders in genomic "precision" medicine; I am currently involved in both ‪MOOCs‬: ‪MITx6001x‬ (computer sciences and python coding) & "precision medicine." Already earned myself MITx edX certs (digital diplomas) in genomics and quantitative biology workshop -- 7.00x & 7.QBWx Instructor in both MOOCs: Eric Lander PhD.