More Change Ahead – Causation, Genes and Beyond

For many years, astute observers  pointed out that “change” is the one constant in asbestos litigation. With that in mind, one might think about talc claims.

With the “change” factor  in mind, it’s also interesting to see what’s happening at the big picture level in molecular biology and genomics. The quote below is from a recent investment-focused biotech gathering, and a resulting August 20, 2018 article at Endpoints. The point is that looking at DNA, by itself, is becoming less useful because so many new tools now allow looking in greater depth:

“I’m a scientist at Dana-Farber and the Broad Institute. If you just think about the surge, for example, in high-throughput technologies, genome-wide sequencing, exome sequencing, high-throughput omics; in the ability to interrogate every protein in the cell—this has really emerged in a period commensurate with the increase in funding for a lot of these biotech companies.

We study in the lab molecular machines that essentially sit on the DNA and regulate the architecture of the genome. For years, these machines were just thought to play housekeeping roles in the cell, rather than any important function. Now, because of sequencing hundreds of thousands of cancer samples—of tumors from cancer patients—we now know that they play major roles in driving disease.

Only now do biologists, do we as scientists, know that this is an important area of potential therapeutic intervention. The surge in funding is commensurate with the surge in technology. At the same time, because of that surge in technology, there are so many screening results, there are so many new genes that are being sequenced where we can identify mutations that are drivers or potentially causative.” (emphasis added)

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About Kirk

Since becoming a lawyer in 1983, Kirk’s over 30 years of practice have focused on advising a wide range of corporations, associations, and individuals (as both plaintiffs and defendants) on both tort and commercial law issues centered around “mass torts.”


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