I was looking for a table to sit at and eat my box lunch on the first day of IDF 2014. I spied an empty chair next to a table that was occupied by a gentleman doing some work on his laptop. He readily assented to my request to share his table. I sat and proceeded to pull off the tomatoes from my sandwich while my impromptu host continued to work. Eventually his laptop was put away and my tablemate began to eat his boxed lunch.
As we were finishing up with our cookie and apple, we started to chat about the usual things that strangers chat about at such meetings: the weather, who we work for, what we do at our job. I mentioned to Michael, my noon meal cohort, that I was part of two of the projects in Health and Life Sciences that Diane Bryant (Intel DCG GM) had spotlighted during her portion of the opening keynote address (which Michael had not seen). I described how speeding up the processing of genomic sequencing could provide better treatment of diseases, especially cancer.
Michael told me that he had been to the 2013 IDF Keynote address. During the presentations, Michael told me about the speaker who came out and related how he had been diagnosed with cancer and his doctor had been unable to find a treatment that worked for him. The patient ended up going to the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, got involved in a clinical program that sequenced his genome, and was able to determine the right cocktail of treatment options that put his cancer into remission.
Michael was particularly struck by this story since his mother-in-law was suffering from cancer at that time. He did his research and got some information on the program and procedures. He passed along all that he had learned to family and doctors. Unfortunately his mother-in-law was in Australia at that time and had progressed to a later stage of cancer. Even so, Michael had been surprised to find out that such treatment programs were being researched and that Intel was a part of such a search for the treatment and eventual cure for cancer.
Now (and this is why I'm posting this seven months after IDF), one of my wife's best friends was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. One bright spot in all of the disheartening news was that her chemotherapy had been tailored to her unique genetic makeup. From Michael's story last September and from what I've had to learn in my job with Intel Health & Life Sciences, I knew that patient DNA could be used this way. However, it obviously makes a bigger impact in my thinking and daily thought processes to have this application of technology demonstrated right next to me.
Throughout the IDF conference, participants are provided with details about new products, new form factors, new partnerships with that vendor and this OEM to make use of the latest and the upcoming generations of Intel technology. All well and good for finding out how I will soon be able to compute faster, connect better, play longer, and take it all along in a smaller package. Mixed in with all of that, I find it heartening to see and learn about how the usage of Intel technology, software, and expertise can make a direct and tangible difference in people’s lives. And I am especially pleased to know that our corporate leaders are willing to take time out from publicizing the next wearable breakthrough or newest networking solution to highlight a more personal side of the impact of technology.