Innovative Family Health – Pocket-sized ultrasound machines that are 50 seconds cheaper than hospital machines (and connect to your phone). Virtual reality that accelerates treatment in rehabilitation. Artificial intelligence is better than medical experts at detecting lung tumors. These are just some of the innovations that are transforming medicine at a remarkable pace.
No one can predict the future, but at least it can be seen in the dozens of inventions and concepts below. Like the people behind them, they are in the healthcare industry. This list is neither exhaustive nor exclusive, but represents the changes in public health and medical science likely to occur in 2020.
Innovative Family Health
Since March, UPS has been running a pilot program called Flight Forward that uses autonomous drones to transport critical medical samples, including blood or tissue, between two hospital locations in Raleigh, North Carolina, which are 150 meters apart. . The speed runner could cover distances as fast as drones, but it was successful as a proof-of-concept program, and in October the FAA gave the company permission to expand to 20 hospitals across the US over the next two years. “We hope that UPS Flight Forward will one day become an integral part of our business,” UPS CEO David Abney says of the service, which delivers urine, blood and tissue samples and essential medical products such as drugs and blood for shipment. UPS isn’t the only pioneer in air shipping. Wing, a unit of Google’s parent company Alphabet, received similar but more limited approval from the FAA to ship to Walgreens and FedEx. And in Ghana and Rwanda, drones operated by Silicon Valley startup Zipline are already delivering medical supplies to rural villages. – Jeffrey Kluger
Innovative, Integrated Health Care Model For Community
There are 7.5 billion people and tens of millions of us monitor our health using wearable devices like smartwatches as well as traditional devices like blood pressure monitors. If there is a way to collect all the data from several million nodes and make it anonymous yet searchable, medical researchers have a powerful tool for drug development, lifestyle studies, and more. California-based big data company Evidation has developed just such a tool with input from 3 million volunteers providing trillions of data points. The Registry partners with drug manufacturers such as Sanofi and Eli Lilly to analyze this data; this work has led to dozens of peer-reviewed studies on topics ranging from sleep and diet to models of cognitive health. For founder Christine Lemke, one of Evidation’s current projects, determining whether new technologies can effectively measure chronic pain is personal: Lemke has a rare genetic disorder that causes back pain. Evidation is partnering with Brigham and Women’s Hospital on the project. – Jeffrey Kluger
Type 1 diabetes affects 1.25 million Americans, but two people in particular caught the attention of Harvard biologist Doug Melton: his daughter Emma and son Sam. Treatment may include careful eating, insulin injections, and daily blood glucose tests. Melton takes a different approach: he uses stem cells to create replacement beta cells that produce insulin. He began his work more than 10 years ago, when stem cell research was generating both hope and controversy. He founded Semma Therapeutics — named after Sam and Emma — in 2014 to develop the technology, which was acquired by Vertex Pharmaceuticals this summer for $950 million. The company has created a tiny implantable device that contains millions of beta-replacement cells that allow glucose and insulin to pass through, but keep immune cells out. “If it works as well in humans as it does in animals, it’s possible that humans won’t have diabetes,” says Melton. “They eat, drink and play like we don’t.” — Don Steinberg
A major limitation threatens to halt the era of personalized medicine: Caucasians are a minority of the world’s population, but make up about 80% of human genome research subjects, creating blind spots in drug research. Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong, 34, founded 54gene to change that. The Nigerian-based 54-nation African startup collects genetic material from volunteers across the continent to make drug research and development more equitable. 54gen is aware of the ugly history of colonial exploitation in Africa. If companies profit from the development of marketable drugs based on the DNA of African people, Africa must profit: therefore, when partnering with companies, 54gene includes those who are committed to the marketing plans of any drug. African countries are dominant. “If we are part of the way to create drugs, maybe we can also be part of the way to bring these drugs to Africa,” says Ene-Obong. — Corin Purtil
One of the main disruptors of the new economy is its approach to medical research. The Parker Cancer Immunotherapy Institute, founded by Napster founder and former Facebook president Sean Parker, is a network of leading institutions, including Memorial Sloan Kettering, Stanford, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and others. It aims to identify and remove barriers to innovation in traditional research. For example, all participating institutes have agreed to get approval from each of their institutional review boards, which “allows us to start large clinical trials in weeks rather than years,” says Parker, and at a lower cost. . Perhaps most importantly, Parker wants to bring his own market sensibility to the project: “We follow our researchers’ insights and then invest our money in commercializing them,” he says, when we license a product or turn it into a company. Since its establishment in 2016, the institute has launched 11 projects into clinical trials and supported nearly 2,000 research articles.
A Day In The Life Of A Rural Family Doctor
A man wearing a giant black watch looks at a small digital dinosaur jumping over obstacles on a computer screen. The man’s hands remain, but he controls the dinosaur – with his brain. The device in his hand is a set of CTRLs, which detect electrical impulses that travel from motor neurons to the muscles of the hand almost as soon as a person thinks about a certain movement. “I want machines to do what we want them to do, not be slaves to machines,” says Thomas Reardon, CEO and co-founder of CTRL-Labs, a device maker. Reardon, a neuroscientist who in a past life led the development of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, says the smartphone’s flat design and bumpy keyboards are “a step backwards for humanity.” The technology could open new avenues of rehabilitation and access for patients recovering from stroke or amputation, as well as those with Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative conditions, Reardon says. — Corin Purtil
There are more than 4 billion people worldwide who lack access to medical imaging and could benefit from Butterfly iQ, a portable ultrasound device. Jonathan Rothberg, a genetics researcher and serial entrepreneur at Yale, has figured out how to put ultrasound technology on a chip so that instead of a $100,000 machine in a hospital, it’s a $2,000 device anywhere with an app. Go to iPhone. It was sold to doctors last year. “Our goal is to sell it to 150 countries that can pay. And [the Gates Foundation] distributes in 53 countries, they can’t,” says Rothberg. The equipment isn’t as good as the big machines, and it can’t replace them in developed parts of the world. However, it could make scanning more routine. “There was a time when the thermometer was only used in a medical setting when a blood pressure cuff was only used in a medical facility,” says Rothberg. “The democratization [of health] is happening in many ways.” — Don Steinberg
Symptoms of lung cancer usually do not appear until the advanced stages, when it is difficult to treat. Early screening of high-risk populations with CT scans can reduce the risk of death, but has its own risks. The US National Institutes of Health found that 2.5% of patients who underwent a CT scan underwent unnecessary invasive treatment – some with fatal results – after misdiagnosis by radiologists. Shravya Shetty believes that artificial intelligence could be the solution. Shetty is a research leader at Google Health, which over the past two years has created an artificial intelligence system that outperforms human radiologists in diagnosing lung cancer. After studying more than 45,000 CT scans, Google’s algorithm detected 5% more cancer cases and 11% fewer false positives than a control group of six human radiologists. Early results are promising, but “there’s a big gap between things and where they are,” Shetty says. “It’s the potential impact that keeps me going.” – Corinne Purtil
More than 2 million peer-reviewed research articles are published each year—a lot for any individual scientist to digest. However, machines do not share this human limitation. BenevolentAI has created algorithms that search research papers, clinical trial results and other sources of biomedical information to find previously overlooked relationships between genes, drugs and diseases. BenevolentAI CEO Joanna Shields is a former executive at companies like