Skip to Main Content

Back in 2000, when President Clinton called a tie in the race to map the human genome, scientists forecasted a medicinal revolution, one in which scientists could ferret out the genetic roots of every known cancer and match patients with personalized treatments.

That did not happen, for reasons of biological complexity, technological immaturity, and perhaps a little scientific hubris. But after two decades of mapping the kaleidoscopic details of human DNA, researchers believe they finally have the tools and techniques to live up to those lofty promises.


“It’s almost like back to the future,” said Anna Barker, an oncologist who serves as chief strategy officer at the Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine of USC. “Where we would like to have been 21 years ago is where we are now.”

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free!


Create a display name to comment

This name will appear with your comment

There was an error saving your display name. Please check and try again.