In this episode of the Precision Medicine Podcast, Brad Power, a courageous journalistic voice, and lymphoma survivor, shares why he’s fighting for greater access to precision medicine in clinical practice. Brad has also worked as a re-engineering consultant and has authored over 75 articles for the Harvard Business Review.
Listen to the podcast episode here (Audio Length: ~ 20 minutes)
Brad started focusing on personalized treatments when he was himself diagnosed with lymphoma. He has since recovered, but the diagnosis drove him to explore his disease and medical options in-depth, and he approached the situation as a personal challenge for him to find the positive side. That attitude led him to become an advocate for normalizing precision medicine in clinical practice.
Brad notes that the medical community still has a lot to do to bring personalized medicine closer to diagnosed cancer patients. Our system needs to evolve and adapt faster.
Only about 10% of people are getting their tissues sequenced, and only about half of those are getting personalized treatments based on that sequencing. Brad experienced this first hand when he was diagnosed, and his doctor failed to sequence his tissues in a timely manner. He believes there are multiple barriers to patients being treated with a precision medicine approach, including medical conservatism and the unwillingness of payers to reimburse for unproven approaches that don’t represent the current standard of care. As a former consultant to one of the Blue’s plans, he’s skeptical that payers will keep up with the rapid pace of innovation.
We asked Brad how he thought this attitude—this barrier to precision medicine—could be overcome. He believes the disruption will come from patients themselves demanding more innovative treatments, and he encourages patients to advocate for themselves when and how they are able to.
For instance, Brad suggests patients arm themselves with information, and he provides several resources for them to do so.
We were thoroughly impressed by Brad’s personal journey and the urgency he brings to a topic we also believe in very deeply. It’s an interview worth listening to, and we hope it inspires you as much as it inspired us.
Listen to the full episode here (Audio Length: ~ 20 minutes)