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Description: Conventional tests had failed to detect his father’s prostate cancer—but his “liquid biopsy” technology did.

Source: Fast Company

Date: April 1, 2016


When Santa Cruz professor Richard Otte, 61, got an annual screening test for prostate cancer, called a PSA, the results came back negative. Shortly thereafter, he reached out to his son Gabriel, an entrepreneur and computational biologist, to let him know the good news.

But Gabriel was skeptical. He knew that the PSA test sometimes doesn’t pick up on the cancer, even when it’s present. So he asked his dad to take a test that was developed by Gabriel’s own biotech startup, Freenome, which uses advanced computing to unearth biological signatures or signs of cancer from DNA fragments in the blood. Otte is hoping that Freenome’s cancer-detection test will hit the market in the next nine months, once it has been peer-reviewed.

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Questions for discussion:

1. Should a service/product like Freenome be free for any and everyone to use?

2. In what ways could Freenome benefit or improve other startups in the same industry?

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