Wednesday, Dec 27, 2023 | 12:00 AM ET

S4 E20: Uncovering Early Cancer Detection

A mission to protect, maintain, and improve people's health BEFORE they get sick. 

In this episode, Stephen Hahn, Chief Executive Officer at Harbinger Health, discusses the groundbreaking work being done at Harbinger, aiming at early disease detection and their commitment to making healthcare more accessible to all. Steve discusses the challenges and possibilities of early cancer detection using blood tests and the technological advancements being made to tackle these challenges. He explains how Harbinger's technology works and its potential impact on patients and physicians. Steve emphasizes the importance of addressing access issues in healthcare, particularly in relation to cancer screening and the economic benefits of early detection. 

Dr. Hahn's compelling vision for a healthier future and his call to action to build trust make this episode an essential listen for everyone passionate about healthcare innovation and accessibility.

About Stephen Hahn:

Stephen M. Hahn, M.D., is CEO-Partner of Flagship Pioneering and Chief Executive Officer of Harbinger Health. Steve joined Flagship in June 2021 as Chief Medical Officer of its Preemptive Health and Medicine Initiative, which is creating a new field that aims to protect, maintain, or improve people’s health before they get sick. Steve will continue as a strategic advisor to the Initiative.


Steve brings two decades of distinguished leadership in healthcare strategy, oncology medical practice, and translational/clinical research to this role. He served as the 24th U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner from 2019 to 2021 overseeing both COVID and non-COVID regulatory affairs, including therapeutics and vaccine development, devices, diagnostics, and clinical trials.


Prior to his FDA appointment, Steve served as chief medical executive at the world-renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Prior to his role as chief medical executive, he served as deputy president and chief operating officer where he was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the nation’s top cancer center, which included leading more than 21,000 employees and overseeing a $5.2 billion operating budget. Steve was elevated to the chief operating officer role after serving as division head, department chair, and professor of Radiation Oncology. Prior to his executive leadership roles at MD Anderson, Dr. Hahn was the leader of radiation oncology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.


Steve focused his translational research efforts on the evaluation of the tumor microenvironment, signal transduction pathways involved in tumor response to therapies and proton therapy. He has authored more than 220 peer-reviewed original research articles and has experience in medical product development.


Steve earned his M.D. from Temple University and received his B.A. in Biology from Rice University. He was an internal medicine resident at the University of California San Francisco before completing a fellowship and residency at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.

Things You’ll Learn:

  • Harbinger's mission is to find diseases early, before symptoms arise, to improve treatment outcomes and save lives. 
  • Their focus on developing accessible and affordable diagnostics will revolutionize healthcare.
  • Dr. Hahn’s insights into Harbinger's innovative blood test, leveraging machine learning and AI to detect specific genetic signatures of cancer in the bloodstream. 
  • This technology has the potential to revolutionize cancer screening and diagnosis.
  • The importance of building trust in healthcare. Access to affordable and reliable testing is vital, and Harbinger is committed to making its technologies accessible to all, regardless of location or socioeconomic status.



Stephen Hahn, M.D.CEO, Harbinger Health

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