A Canadian geneticist’s plans to crowdsource a cure for breast cancer is among the things being forecasted for 2011 and beyond by the World Future Society.

The Washington, D.C.-based think-tank releases an annual report of the most intriguing glimpses of the future gathered from researchers, futurists and big thinkers over the past year, including a Toronto-based geneticist who’s working on a novel way to seek a cure for cancer.

Andrew Hessel co-founded Pink Army Co-operative in 2009 because he was frustrated by the glacial pace of big pharmaceutical development and convinced lives could be saved faster with many brains working collectively.

He’s hoping to attract 2,500 people who will pay $20 each for a share in the non-profit Pink Army, and he’s collected about 420 mini-investors so far. The seed money will fund the first steps in what he envisions as a crowdsourced cure tailored for each person’s cancer and powered by synthetic biology, a fast-growing area of genetics that lets researchers rewrite DNA code instead of just cutting and pasting.

“I do this not because I’m running a lab or want to make a million dollars; I’m doing it because it’s such a powerful technology and almost nobody knows about it,” he says.

“The only way you’re ever going to beat cancer is, first of all, strip the profit motive out of it — that’s just crazy.”

Full article by Shannon Proudfoot on http://www.timescolonist.com/health/Crowdsourcing+cure+faster+scientist/4045015/story.html

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