By 2020, most of the developed world will shift towards a proactive, personalized, healthcare policy.
National Institutes of Health director, Francis Collins discusses how personalized medicine and improved electronic records would allow doctors to tailor treatments to each patient. See this See 2-minute video below:
Doctors will increasingly use genomic profiles and patient lifestyle data to develop strategies for preventing, detecting, and treating disease. Experts also predict that stem cell therapies and remote monitoring devices will play important roles in tomorrow’s healthcare.
To turn these views into reality, experts believe more focus must be placed in the following three areas:
1) lower the cost of sequencing genes, making it affordable for patient genetic profiles to become part of every medical record;
2) further understand how to grow stem cells into new tissues, blood, and organs; and
3) create remote monitoring devices that offer patients more control over their own healthcare.
Genetic Profiling – have you ever wondered why it’s so difficult to lose weight or change bad habits; or questioned whether the prescription drugs and vitamins you gulp down every day really help? Analyzing genes not only provides a more detailed view of your health condition, it also enables doctors to prescribe treatments more accurately. Learn more from this NOVA presentation, “Cracking Your Genetic Code.”
Stem Cell Therapy – a government report, “2020: A New Vision – A Future for Regenerative Medicine” declared stem cells to be the evolution of healthcare. Positive futurists believe that by 2030, this wonder tech will enable doctors to rejuvenate body parts damaged from disease or aging; even wrinkled skin might one day be replaced with young resilient skin. Could the ‘Fountain of Youth’ finally become reality?
Though more research is needed to realize all the hopes and dreams of stem cells, progress is advancing; especially in areas of creating dissolvable housing systems (templates) that direct stem cells to grow into specific parts, such as hearts, livers, pancreas, muscles, bones, eyes, skin, and teeth.
However, researchers have noticed that stem cells degrade in quality as people age, and this has prompted a Colorado company, Stem Cell Backup, to offer people the ability to “bank” their stem cells for future use. Founder Patrick O’Malley says it’s important to back up your stem cells as early as possible.
Researchers have recently discovered that Parkinson’s, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord repair, diabetes, and tooth replacement, all respond better when treated with younger stem cells. Experts predict that stem cell replacement technology will become a dominant force in 21st Century healthcare.
In another medical breakthrough, Las Vegas, NV scientist Walter Goldstein and partners, Warren Miller and Robert Risacher believe the type of “natural Universal Blood source” they are working on could gain FDA approval by 2018. The product, called IVRBC, begins with stem cells that become red blood cells using their company’s process.
By extracting stem cells from a select patient with stem cell markers that define the hematopoietic pathway (the way the body makes blood), their company will use the process they are developing to make Universal Blood to supply red cell needs, thereby minimizing use of donor blood. Doctors, for the first time will be provided unlimited blood supplies properly matched to patient needs.
This process would treat diseases like anemia, and many blood and bone marrow disorders. Goldstein announced that their unique ‘scale up’ method could enable volume production necessary to satisfy the heavy demands of blood centers.
Remote Monitoring – includes devices that give patients more control over their health. Corventis Corporation recently completed clinical trials with a device that sticks to patient chests like a Band-Aid and transmits heart rate, fluid status, exercise, and posture habits directly to their doctor 24/7.
By 2020, most of the developed world will shift towards a proactive, personalized, healthcare policy. Here’s hoping that the medical advances mentioned in this article may one day help every reader enjoy a long-lasting healthy life full of vim, vigor, and enthusiasm.
As Spock would say, “Live long and prosper.” .
Dick Pelletier was a weekly columnist who wrote about future science and technologies for numerous publications. He passed away on July 22, 2014.
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