Dr Soon-Shiong:There are two issues. The first question is why haven't we cured cancer. I think the reason we haven't is because we were treating cancer based on wrong assumptions. The first assumption we had was that cancer was based on a single clone, and there was some mathematical analysis that there was linear growth, and if we, therefore, gave chemotherapy in maximum tolerated doses, we would kill the cancer cell and hopefully not kill the patient.
Well, what happened was we killed the cancer cell, but what we didn't realize is that cancer is not a single clone [but] multiple heterogeneous clones. And what we were doing, frankly, with the maximum-tolerated dose chemotherapy, [was] killing the immune system, and releasing and super-selecting the resistance clones, and inducing metastasis.
All of that has now changed because of new insights that cancer is a multiclonal disease and we have the capability to measure protein biomarkers at the quantitative level from the cellular tissue of the patient and know before treatment begins whether the patient has a resistance or chemo-sensitive biomarker. And the technology of supercomputing allows us to take very complex information and bioinformatically find the protein that's secreted by the cancer, and most excitingly, gives us the opportunity to find the abnormal sequence in the cancer cell that is unique to that patient.