About Alvin Ziegler

GRIDLOCK germinated in a New York hospital. While updating computer networks in Beth Israel Medical Center, I saw firsthand how biology and computers were converging. Petri dishes and microscopes were being replaced with databases and computer workstations. All quite ho hum.

But no. This was the dawn of personalized medicine. Few knew about it or that the human genome was being decoded. The advancement came like a tidal wave. Mainstream practices would soon become ancient history. The digital revolution had finally wound its way to the doctor’s office, where it was transforming medicine and rewriting healthcare … the same way it had impacted the newspaper, music, book, and movie industries.

Landing in Fort Lauderdale, I had a story idea. Customized treatments were replacing one-size-fits-all drugs. In fact, scientists were unlocking the secrets of DNA to find our susceptibilities to disease so personalized treatment could become the norm.

Since diseases like cancer are as individual as a fingerprint, the breakthrough would extend the lives of millions. But modernization is never simple. Healthcare is the biggest industry in the world. Careers and fortunes hang in the balance. There would be fierce detractors. But how far would opponents go to halt scientific progress?

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