Posted by: Brendan Fraser11 OCT 2012
One of my more recent speculations has been concerning the future of medicine as technology advances. In my opinion, it is becoming ever clearer that the majority of diseases are associated with specific genetic/protein regulation modification. This has caused me to consider where the future of medicine may lie. Recently a couple of ideas have snatched my attention. An article on the PJ by Hamde Nazar discussing novel formulations had triggered the thought that biologics are an up-and-coming method for implementation of personalised medicine, especially in the treatment of cancers. The article focused on the physical devices which highlight key issues for me such as sustainability of devices and safety for patients. Sustainability is something I am deeply concerned about. Although this is something that wasn’t directly discussed within the article, it is an issue I am highly aware of. The question I am considering is whether the technological and medicinal advances being made are sustainable. Again, a recent article by Angela Alexander has highlighted these issues in more detail. On a day-to-day basis my mind seems to consider a lot of nerdy questions. More recently, I’ve thought about organ and if there could be a way to reproduce patient’s organs externally to replace the old one. This may seem farfetched but cell culture techniques are well developed. I also remember reading at university about polymer gels which could culture cells in 3D. Even more surprisingly, this technology is being incorporated into microchips to help mimic organ physiology. Huh et al. (2011) looks at this technology in more detail and even after trying to understand it, it went over my head. However, this is just another example of the potential of today’s advancements. The question that I asked one of my colleagues is “Where can you see medicine in the future?”. They didn’t know, nor do I. Although I have highlighted some points in my blog that I’ve been thinking about, there can be no definitive answer to the question. Alternatively it may just be a matter of perspective, I wonder what the older generation think of medicine now? Maybe, I’ll get my answers in fifty years time. Huh, D. Hamilton, GA. Ingber, DE. (2011) From 3D cell culture to organs-on-chips. Trends in Cell Biology. 21 (12), p745-754.