Dr. Soon-Shiang is changing the way researchers look at cancer. Sanjay Gupta profiled Soon-Shiang Sunday night on 60 Minutes.
“A cancer is not what people think, cells growing. Cancer is actually the inability of the cells to die,” said Soon-Shiang. “The mutation that happens in lung cancer could be the exact same mutation that happens in the breast cancer. So you need to treat that patient based on its mutation not on its physical, anatomical location.”
Dr. Derek Raghavan, a renowned oncologist and researcher, is president of the Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina. He thinks there’s some merit to Soon-Shiang’s idea that finding the mutations that drive cancer will lead to drugs that will treat cancer.
“That’s a fair theory,” Raghaven said. “I don’t think we’re there now. I don’t think we’ll be there next year. I think there’s just too much hard, complex science that has to be done before this is state of the art. But it’s a very cool idea for the future.”
It’s an idea that has Wall Street excited. As Forbes reported today, Soon-Shiang’s networth is $13.3 billion. That’s $2.3 billion more than 60 Minutes reported. Soon-Chiang’s umbrella company NantWorks, is valued at $7.7 billion. Nantworks is planning an initial public offering for some time next year.
The Forbes article also says many of Soon-Shiang’s statements are misleading such as his claim NantHealth could analyze a genome in 47 seconds compared to 11 weeks elsewhere. Forbes reports that Soon-Shiang’s work show promise, but more hard data needs to be produced before he can be proclaimed a genius.
You can watch the entire 60 Minutes report below or at its website where you’ll find additional interviews as well .