UCSF Experts to Share Latest at 2020 Precision Medicine World Conference

By Lisa Cisneros

Leading UC San Francisco experts will take the stage next week at Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC), where they will present their pioneering work spanning the spectrum from fundamental discovery to health care delivery and economics.
The 31 UCSF speakers are among the foremost leaders who will share the latest in innovative technologies, research initiatives and clinical care developments that enable the translation of precision medicine into direct improvements in patient care.

Established in 2009, PMWC highlights a wide-ranging diversity of precision medicine approaches, projects, partnerships and their impact. Topics for this year’s conference at the Santa Clara Convention Center include AI, data science, clinical diagnostics, genomics, advanced medical imaging, precision oncology and immunotherapies that are designed to make patient care more precise, predictive and personal.

This year, two UCSF-affiliated precision medicine visionaries will be lauded for their efforts at the opening reception on Jan. 21 in Genentech Hall at UCSF Mission Bay. They are:

  • Brook Byers, founder and partner of Kleiner Perkins, will receive the PMWC Pioneer Award for his support of precision medicine through investment in companies that embarked in the field yearly and for his inspirational mentorship of their founders. UCSF honored Byers with the UCSF Medal for his contributions to scientific discovery and scholarship at the University.
  • Laura van’t Veer, a UCSF professor of laboratory medicine, will receive the PMWC Luminary Award for her research on precision medicine to advance disease management based on knowledge of the genetic makeup of a patient and tumor. The inventor of the MammaPrint, van ’t Veer made a seminal impact on “rightsizing” the treatment of breast cancer and molecular genomics.
portrait of Brook Byers

Brook Byers

Portrait of Laura van’t Veer

Laura van ’t Veer

The Vision of Precision Medicine

Keith Yamamoto, PhD, director of UCSF Precision Medicine and vice chancellor for Science Policy and Strategy, is leading UCSF’s efforts in this burgeoning and broad field and at the PMWC.

“Precision medicine is a central element of UCSF’s vision,” he says. “We are inspired by the progress made in recent years, within our institution and in collaboration with colleagues at other academic centers, in industry, in government, and in patient advocacy organizations. With support and partnerships from federal, state and private sources, we have created and progressively expanded a multi-component precision medicine program across UCSF, enabled by high-powered computational tools, that is integrating and advancing biomedical research, health, and health care.”

UCSF recently opened the Bakar Precision Cancer Center at its Mission Bay campus. The pioneering cancer center is devoted to providing adult patients with highly advanced treatments, including immunotherapy, genetic counseling, molecular profiling of tumors, fully integrated clinical trials, and advanced imaging.

Yamamoto says advancing precision medicine is key to UCSF’s ongoing efforts to improve health equity.

“Importantly, as a public university, UCSF is committed to equity and health justice. Our deep conviction is that precision medicine can and must benefit everyone. As we advance technologies and innovations, our patients and community remain at the core of our mission.”

Our deep conviction is that precision medicine can and must benefit everyone. As we advance technologies and innovations, our patients and community remain at the core of our mission.

Keith Yamamoto, PhD

Precision medicine is the use of advanced computing tools to aggregate, integrate and analyze vast amounts of data from basic science, clinical, personal, environmental and population health settings, to better understand biological processes and define disease mechanisms, and to develop and deliver more precise diagnostics, therapeutics, and prevention measures. Everyone, including patients, can contribute their own data to this dynamic network.

UCSF’s vision is to fulfill the promise of precision medicine by pioneering a knowledge network that yields the seeds for new discoveries, better outcomes, and greater value and equity to improve health for all.

UCSF investigators have played key roles in establishing the full spectrum of precision medicine approaches. These include leadership in the 2011 National Academy of Sciences committee, co-chaired by former UCSF Chancellor Sue Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, that envisioned and named precision medicine, and developing President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative, announced at the 2015 State of the Union address, and Precision Medicine: An Action Plan for California.