9 TED Talks Everyone in Pharma Should Watch in 2018

Traditionally, most of the new information and education we receive in the Life Sciences is found in medical journals, at conferences and seminars, and other industry publications. However, there's another channel of information that's got the Montrium team hooked as they look to perfect their skills, learn new approaches and discover new ideas - and that's TED Talks.

TED Talks are non-profit conferences where leading thinkers present on innovation, emerging trends and big ideas in their respective fields. Originally formed as a platform to discuss topics surrounding technology, entertainment and design (hence why they're aptly named TED talks), the series of presentations has now expanded to a much wider range of topics encompassing the human experience.

If you've never watched a TED Talk before (you should take a long hard look at yourself), some of the Talks we've listed below are a fantastic introduction to the quality of their platform as well as an opportunity to grasp some new concepts and ideas in the world of Pharmaceuticals and Clinical Research. Even if you're an avid TED Talk'er like we are, there are some absolute gems listed below that you'll thank us for later.

Editors Update:

We have added 2 new videos at the end of the article to make it 9 TED Talks.


1. Soon We'll Cure Diseases with a Cell, Not a Pill

 TED Talk by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Current medical treatment boils down to six words: Have disease, take pill, kill something. But physician Siddhartha Mukherjee points to a future of medicine that will transform the way we heal.


2. A Bold New Way to Fund Drug Research

 TED Talk by Roger Stein

Believe it or not, about 20 years' worth of potentially life-saving drugs are sitting in labs right now, untested. Why? Because they can't get the funding to go to trials; the financial risk is too high. Roger Stein is a finance guy, and he thinks deeply about mitigating risk. He and some colleagues at MIT came up with a promising new financial model that could move hundreds of drugs into the testing pipeline.


3. Battling Bad Science

TED Talk by Ben Goldacre

Every day there are news reports of new health advice, but how can you know if they're right? Doctor and epidemiologist Ben Goldacre shows us, at high speed, the ways evidence can be distorted, from the blindingly obvious nutrition claims to the very subtle tricks of the pharmaceutical industry.


4. What Will Humans Look Like in 100 Years?

TED Talk by Juan Enriquez

We can evolve bacteria, plants and animals -- futurist Juan Enriquez asks: Is it ethical to evolve the human body? In a visionary talk that ranges from medieval prosthetics to present day neuroengineering and genetics, Enriquez sorts out the ethics associated with evolving humans and imagines the ways we'll have to transform our own bodies if we hope to explore and live in places other than Earth.


5. New Nanotech to Detect Cancer Early

TED Talk by Joshua Smith

What if every home had an early-warning cancer detection system? Researcher Joshua Smith is developing a nanobiotechnology "cancer alarm" that scans for traces of disease in the form of special biomarkers called exosomes. In this forward-thinking talk, he shares his dream for how we might revolutionize cancer detection and, ultimately, save lives.


6. Science Didn't Understand My Kids' Rare Disease Until I Decided to Study It

TED Talk by Sharon Terry

Meet Sharon Terry, a former college chaplain and stay-at-home mom who took the medical research world by storm when her two young children were diagnosed with a rare disease known as pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE). In this knockout talk, Terry explains how she and her husband became citizen scientists, working midnight shifts at the lab to find the gene behind PXE and establishing mandates that require researchers to share biological samples and work together


7. The Coming Crisis in Antibiotics

TED Talk by Ramanan Laxminarayan

Antibiotic drugs save lives. But we simply use them too much — and often for non-lifesaving purposes, like treating the flu and even raising cheaper chickens. The result, says researcher Ramanan Laxminarayan, is that the drugs will stop working for everyone, as the bacteria they target grow more and more resistant. He calls on all of us (patients and doctors alike) to think of antibiotics -- and their ongoing effectiveness -- as a finite resource, and to think twice before we tap into it. It's a sobering look at how global medical trends can strike home.


8. Could a drug prevent depression and PTSD? [NEW]

TED Talk by Rebecca Brachman

The path to better medicine is paved with accidental yet revolutionary discoveries. In this well-told tale of how science happens, neuroscientist Rebecca Brachman shares news of a serendipitous breakthrough treatment that may prevent mental disorders like depression and PTSD from ever developing. And listen for an unexpected -- and controversial -- twist.


9. Should you be able to patent the human gene?

TED Talk by Tania Simoncelli

A decade ago, US law said human genes were patentable -- which meant patent holders had the right to stop anyone from sequencing, testing or even looking at a patented gene. Troubled by the way this law both harmed patients and created a barrier to biomedical innovation, Tania Simoncelli and her colleagues at the ACLU challenged it. In this riveting talk, hear the story of how they took a case everybody told them they would lose all the way to the Supreme Court.




 eTMF Buyers Guide

If there's a TED Talk that you've watched that you think would be perfectly at home in this list, shoot us the link in the comments section and we'll take a look at it. We're always looking for great content we can share with our team and the industry! We hope you enjoyed the TED Talks, let us know your favorite in the comments sections!

About the Author: Oliver Pearce

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