The future of cancer research is quite an exciting one
Recently, we visited the WIRED 2016 event by WIRED Insider to see what the future holds for technology, the digital age and our health. What we found was enlightening and insightful, to say the least.
One talk that particularly captured our attention was one by Cheng-Ho Jimmy Lin. The world as we know it changes by the minute with ever advancing technological breakthroughs. We also know that awareness of cancer early in its formation is critical, as previously written about, here.
It is estimated that 1 in 2 people will be affected by cancer at some point in their lives. It is put across that there are 14 million new cancer cases and 8 million cancer-related deaths each year the world over, and that analysts predict that those figures could double by 2050. Not only that, but while we are getting smarter with cancer drugs, cancer itself is still capable of rearing its ugly head again once treatment has previously been deemed ‘successful’, seemingly without warning or proper reasoning.
So, that’s it then? Cancer is on the rise? The fatal flaw in human genetics will ultimately win?
Not so fast. Jimmy explains, and enthuses, that we live in a golden age of new treatment discovery and research. That technology is constantly driving new, or cheaper, techniques and methodologies. On the face of it, in our lifetimes, we may never see an out-and-out magical cure for cancer, but I was left with the distinct impression that we are edging closer.
One area that is pinpointed is that of Genomics. Without getting into too many technicalities, Genomics is a way of sequencing a patient’s DNA and thus helping detect cancer at an earlier stage. It enables the collection of genome sequences to then better understand each strand or type of cancer, and then potentially learn how to combat it. You can find out more, here.
Rather brilliantly, the technological advances in this area have helped to massively reduce the cost of Genomics throughout the recent years, in much the same way that consumer tech becomes cheaper and more readily available in time. Another feather in the cap for technology when it comes to fighting disease.
They key thing here, though, is that we should all be safe in the knowledge that people like Jimmy exist. The passion he expressed for solving cancer’s great mysteries was clear to see and confidence inspiring. As expressed; “We are living in an explosion of cancer information and mapping. An amazing time for cancer therapies.”
I put it to you, Cheng-Ho Jimmy Lin, MD, PhD, MHS, Cancer Genomics Pioneer and Rare Disease Social Entrepreneur, to keep doing what you are doing for benefit of the human race. Thank you.