Technical issues, regulatory hurdles, societal stagnancy. All three of these pose a threat to the advancement of personalized medicine. But perhaps the greatest issue, according to Xconomy's Luke Timmerman, is a lack of sufficient samples.
"Samples — everything from tumor biopsies to blood and urine to feces and saliva — are the crucial raw material that goes into the whiz-bang science of seeking diagnostic answers," he says, "Microscopes, real-time PCR machines, next-generation gene sequencers — they all depend on high-quality samples."
And Timmerman says anecdotal evidence from investors and entrepreneurs suggests that there are just not enough high-quality samples to support the research necessary to move personalized medicine forward.
"Like many other things in life, this is really about supply and demand," he adds. "The supply of good samples is short, and the demand is increasing."