Over the last decade, medical research has allowed a remarkable pivot towards precision medicine where clinicians are increasingly able to leverage information from individuals such as a genetic profile to diagnose and classify disease, optimize treatment, and even design custom therapies. While precision medicine is still emerging, clinicians and researchers are finding that the utility of the approach is uneven across race and ethnicities. 95 percent of human research samples come from individuals of European descent which is leading to incomplete disease understanding and treatments that differentially help specific populations. Currently only two percent of genetic samples are from African populations and even less are from Middle Eastern populations. Researchers are increasingly concerned that this will hinder progress in developing new treatments that are as effective. In this session, we will discuss how we map a path forward, to ensure that research infrastructure and human capital is developed around the globe. We will also discuss how philanthropy and public funding are coming together to work outside of geographic boundaries to prioritize collaboration across research teams and develop solutions for data sharing that benefit more people.
Senior Director, Center for Strategic Philanthropy, Milken Institute
Asma Al Mannaei
Executive Director, Research and Innovation Centre, Department of Health, Abu Dhabi
Co-Director, CUHK Centre for Bioethics; Associate Professor, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Executive Director, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center
Director, Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard