Stanford Scientist: We’ll Have A Century of Medical Advances in the Next Decade

Just this year, we’ve seen several tech companies jump into medical research. From Sean Parker’s $250-million contribution to fighting cancer, to the birth of Google’s Life Sciences research division. The latest to join is Zuckerberg launching a $3-billion program which aims to cure all diseases.
“The technology industry has entered the field of medicine and aims to eliminate disease itself,” writes renowned expert Vivek Wadhwa, fellow at Stanford University’s Rock Center for Corporate Governance, director of research for the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke, and a distinguished fellow at the Singularity University.
“It may well succeed because of a convergence of exponentially advancing technologies, such as computing, artificial intelligence, sensors, and genomic sequencing. We’re going to see more medical advances in the next decade than happened in the past century,” Wadhwa believes.
Innovation will be the key and Wadhwa notes that wearable tech that monitors our health and genome sequencing are among the most interesting developments today. And of course, there was the human genome project, which has made advances in biotechnology and synthetic biology possible. Wadhwa mentions CRISPR, the state-of-the-art genetic editing tool we have and “the most amazing, and scary, genetics technology of all.”
Wadhwa also pointed to microbiomes, calling them the “the next big medical frontier”. These bacterial systems in our bodies affect us more than we know. “[I]in reality, there are 10 times as many microbes in our body as cells. This is a field that I am most excited about, because it takes us back to looking at the human organism as a whole. The microbiome may be the missing link between environment, genomics, and human health,” Wadhwa explains.
‘It will take time for the inventions to get from the lab to people in need, and the technology elite will have these before the rest of us. But this will only be for a short period, because the way the tech industry builds value is by democratizing technology, reducing its cost and enabling it to reach billions. This is why I am so excited that companies such as IBM, Facebook, and Google are taking the mantle from the health-care industry.’