Siddhartha Mukherjee: Soon we'll cure diseases with a cell, not a pill
Siddhartha Mukherjee - Cancer physician and writer
When he’s not ferreting out the links between stem cells and malignant blood disease, Siddhartha Mukherjee writes and lectures on the history (and future) of medicine. Full bio
about the future of medicine.
a little bit about the past.
of the recent history of medicine,
for the dominance of this model
but we happen to be celebrating
of antibiotics into the United States.
was nothing short of transformative.
either from the natural world
in the laboratory,
a previously fatal, lethal disease --
into a curable, or treatable illness.
over and over again
and hypertension and heart disease.
but it's only worked partly.
in the human body,
that your body is capable of,
is on the order of a million.
all of medicinal chemistry?
of all chemical reactions in your body
by this lock and key mechanism.
about human physiology
and interacting pieces,
of that network.
10 or 15 telephone lines.
that the natural world
might think about illness
is organized hierarchically upwards,
semi-autonomous unit called a cell.
semi-autonomous units called organs,
to form things called humans,
ultimately live in environments,
and partly semi-autonomous.
this hierarchical scheme
to think about illness as well
this lock and key model to cancer.
or targeted therapies,
of breast cancer,
to the ceiling of that approach.
about using the immune system,
doesn't grow in a vacuum.
have an immune system, to attack cancer?
spectacular new medicines in cancer.
of the environment, isn't there?
as altering the environment.
of a profoundly carcinogenic environment.
you take confinement,
white sheet of paper,
that we know, called nicotine,
addictive substances that you know,
a pro-carcinogenic environment.
for breast cancer, for instance.
milieu for other forms of cancer.
we've tried, again, desperately
that operate between nerve cells --
but then that reached the limit.
really probably need to do
of the organ, the brain,
we know study upon study has shown
has shown that talk therapy
than either one alone.
environment that will change depression?
that elicit depression?
hierarchical chain of organization.
chronic degenerative diseases --
hypertension, osteoarthritis --
the metaphor to growing something.
shift, as it were,
personal manner about 10 years ago.
I've been a runner most of my life --
and I basically couldn't move.
of bone against bone.
is that you get to order your own MRIs.
and it looked like that.
that is between bone
and the bone itself had been shattered.
and feeling sorry,
of every person in this audience,
and cartilage degeneration like this.
of the men in this audience
to experiment on your own ailments.
into the laboratory,
to fix this degeneration.
into the knee spaces of animals
on a very long and painful process,
we had a research student from Australia.
looking at the world upside down.
maybe it isn't a mechanical problem.
Maybe it's a stem cell problem."
as a skeletal stem cell --
the entire vertebrate skeleton,
elements of skeleton,
in the nervous system.
or dysfunction of this stem cell
a very common ailment.
were we looking for a pill
been looking for a cell.
to look for skeletal stem cells.
we found these cells.
a real photograph of one of them.
and the yellow cells
from one single skeletal stem cell --
coming out of a single cell.
They have four properties.
where they're expected to live.
the surface of the bone,
it's location, location, location.
and form bone and cartilage.
of the vertebrate skeleton,
in petri dishes in the laboratory,
form cartilage for love or money?
of cartilage around themselves.
of fractures that we've ever encountered.
a mouse bone that we fractured
and repaired, in yellow, the bone,
with a fluorescent dye
of peculiar cellular glue
and then stopping their work.
fiftyfold, as you age.
in a perceptual shift.
back onto this idea:
about bone stem cells,
in terms of a cellular disease.
are there organs?
as an organ outside the body?
into areas of trauma?
and create environments?
that exercise remodels bone,
is going to exercise.
loading and unloading bone
or regenerate degenerating cartilage?
and more importantly,
more globally outside medicine?
is not killing something,
some of the most interesting questions
about medicine in the future.
be a cell and not a pill?
the malignant growth of these cells?
of unleashing growth.
suicide genes into these cells
that's created outside the body
some of those organs had memory.
those memories back in?
for an individual human being
environments as medicines.
I began this talk with models.
about model building.
builds a model,
a world in miniature.
the world in metaphor.
a new way of seeing.
The latter is a perceptual shift.
such a perceptual shift
that it really colored, distorted,
about medicine for the last hundred years.
to think about medicine in the future.
a popular trope out there
the transformative impact
ways of thinking about medicines.
are three more intangible M's:
I really like this metaphor.
and that medical treatments of the future
your genome, your current context.
you've got here?
It's a very interesting question.
personalization of medicine
is such a dominant metaphor,
in medicine today,
the personalization of medicine.
is just the bottom
organized unit of that, is the cell.
in medicine in this way,
organ or organismal therapies,
immersion therapies for the environment.
there's turtles all the way.
personalization all the way.
medicine could be a cell
potentially your own cells.
CA: So converted to stem cells,
of drugs or something, and prepared.
This is what we're doing.
and in fact, we're slowly moving,
but incorporating genomics
semi-autonomous, self-regulating systems,
About the speaker:Siddhartha Mukherjee - Cancer physician and writer
When he’s not ferreting out the links between stem cells and malignant blood disease, Siddhartha Mukherjee writes and lectures on the history (and future) of medicine.
Why you should listen
While discussing a diagnosis with a patient, Siddhartha Mukherjee realized that there were no easy answers to the question, “What is cancer?” Faced with his hesitation, Mukherjee decided to do something about it.
Over the next six years, Mukherjee wrote the influential, Pulitzer-winning The Emperor of All Maladies, a 4,000-year “biography” of cancer. He collaborated with Ken Burns on a six-hour documentary for PBS based on his book, updating the story with recent discoveries in oncology.
In his new TED Book, The Laws of Medicine, he examines the three principles that govern modern medicine -- and every profession that confronts uncertainty and wonder.
Siddhartha Mukherjee | Speaker | TED.com