On this page, we’re collecting a growing number of links of articles about biohype, which:
may be described as “a phenomenon in which there is a gap between the expectations associated with the development of a genetically derived technology/field of research and the practical applications that may realistically result from it” (Stenne, Hurlimann, Godard, 2012). Biohype occurs when the anticipated and claimed benefits of a developing field of science are unrealistic, overstated, exaggerated or premature, in the view of the data and knowledge that has been gathered.
That excerpt is lifted from the website of the OMICS-ETHICS Research Group at the Bioethics Programs, University of Montreal. This screenshot from their website outlines some of their research topics.
The following list was inspired by Dr. Michael Joyner of the Mayo Clinic, who tweets about biohype as @DrMJoyner. He will help us build this list over time. It should help journalists working on biotech stories, and it should help interested consumers to become smarter consumers. Any opinions expressed by Dr. Joyner are his own.
Biohype may take many different forms, so we’ll try to lump our links into categories.
Things Joyner has written:
- JAMA opinion piece by Joyner and Nigel Paneth, “Seven Questions For Personalized Medicine“
- Joyner’s own New York Times op-ed piece, ” ‘Moonshot’ Medicine Will Let Us Down“
- “Precision medicine, cardiovascular disease and hunting elephants,” Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases (abstract only for free)
Medical/science journal manuscripts somehow related to biohype:
- ‘The precision-oncology illusion,” by Vinay Prasad, MD.
- “Limits to Personalized Cancer Medicine,” Ian Tannock and John Hickman in The New England Journal of Medicine
- “Uncertainty in the era of precision medicine,” by David Hunter in The New England Journal of Medicine
- “The Obesity gene and the (misplaced) search for a personalized approach to our weight gain problems,” by Timothy Caulfield, PhD.
- “Precision oncology: a strategy we were not ready to deploy,” by Tito Fojo, MD, PhD
- JAMA paper, “Establishing the Clinical Validity of Arrhythmia-Related Genetic Variations Using the Electronic Medical Record: A Valid Take on Precision Medicine?“
- New England Journal of Medicine perspective piece, “Public Health in the Precision-Medicine Era“
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper, “Increasing disparities between resource inputs and outcomes, as measured by certain health deliverables, in biomedical research“
- Lancet Oncology personal view by Vinay Prasad, Tito Fojo, Michael Brada: “Precision oncology: origins, optimism and potential“
- New England Journal of Medicine perspective piece by Alta Charo, “On the Road (to a Cure?) — Stem-Cell Tourism and Lessons for Gene Editing“
- “Microbiome science needs a healthy dose of skepticism,” by William P. Hanage in Nature.
- “Confronting stem cell hype,” by Timothy Caulfield and colleagues in Science.
Journalism or newspaper opinion pieces touching on biohype:
- “Hype vs. hope in medical research,” opinion piece by Eric Lander, founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
- “Beware the hype: Top scientists cautious about fighting cancer with immunotherapy.” Sharon Begley, STAT News.
- “Personalized medicine has obvious benefits but has anyone thought about the issues?” TheConversation.com.
- On our blog, guest post by Arvind Suresh of the Genetic Expert News Service – “Don’t believe the biotype: Tips for evaluating claims about genetics and biotech.”
- Vinay Prasad’s Washington Post opinion piece, “Why a cancer moonshot is unlikely to find us a cure.”
- Washington Post Wonkblog piece, “The alluring idea that we can cure cancer has become a trap“
- Larry Husten’s Cardiobrief column, “Precision Medicine Stuck in Second Grade: Flunks test of clinical utility on two fronts.“
- Washington Post Wonkblog piece, “A social media war just erupted over the biotech innovation of the century“
- David Dobbs’ BuzzFeed piece, “What Is Your DNA Worth? Your DNA may be up for sale. And the sale depends on an exaggerated picture of genetic power and destiny.”
- Tom Junod’s Esquire piece, “The Death of Patient Zero: Personalized medicine—or, as President Obama calls it, precision medicine—may indeed one day deliver routine medical miracles. But for Stephanie Lee, the only miracles were the human and ancient kind.”
- Howard Wolinsky’s Modern Healthcare piece, “Imprecise marketing of precision medicine: Advertising may be running ahead of science.”
More to come. We welcome your nominations for this list; send to firstname.lastname@example.org