What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

Using DNA Sequencing to Pick Best Cancer Drugs

December 17, 2011, 8:30 AM

What's the Latest Development?

Christopher Hitchens and Steve Jobs were among the first patients to benefit from very new technology using DNA sequencing to pick the cancer drugs likely to be most effective. Their deaths also illustrate that we can't yet expect 'miracles' from it. Nevertheless, the idea is that by identifying mutations, doctors can determine the drugs most likely to stop or slow tumor growth.

What's the Big Idea?

Sequencing is the most expensive and exhaustive way to look for tumor-causing defects. It's cheaper to just look at genes known to correlate with effectiveness for existing drugs in some cancers. But caring for late-stage cancer patients is so expensive, and so often futile, that even technology as costly as sequencing could easily lead to improvements. The technology is still in its early days, however, and it is not yet saving many lives.

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

Using DNA Sequencing to Pic...

Newsletter: Share: