Science fiction is the bridge between what we envision for the far future and what we see in practice today. By showing us the possible dream worlds or living hells, such works of art touch upon the most relevant moral, ethical, social or political issues linked to technological progress.
We have no idea what the rapid technological development, the so-called fourth industrial revolution will bring upon us in the next decades. There is only one certainty: we will need a new set of skills to find our place in the future.
Terrorism is and will always be out there as we do not live in a world depicted in the movie Minority Report where crimes can be prevented by foreseeing them. We cannot and we do not want to supervise people’s lives as that would be the death of privacy. Also, disruptive technologies not only enhance […]
At the TEDMED 2014 conference, medical device developers QuantuMDx Group announced the successful production of their first fully-integrated sample-to-result working prototype of Q-POC™, a handheld lab that delivers DNA-based medical diagnosis in minutes. Here is an excerpt from their press release.
With genetic data at their fingertips, frontline healthworkers will be able to provide personalized healthcare, no matter where they are; public health officials will have the information they need to mobilize the right resources to the right place at the right time; researchers will be better equipped to monitor the efficacy of a disease intervention. Due for commercialisation in 2016, Q-POC™ is the Bio-API™ that will make this possible by translating genetic code to binary.”
I used to work with PCR machines in the lab and it sounded like science fiction back then that once the technique could become performed at home.
Jonathan O’Halloran’s WIRED Health talk in which he described the £500 handheld device that tracks disease mutations.
I’ve had two direct-to-consumer genomic tests before with Navigenics and Pathway Genomics. The topic of analyzing the genetic background to make decisions about lifestyle is really close to my heart, although as someone with a PhD in clinical genomics I know exactly what scientific limitations those companies have to face.
The Nokia Sensing XChallenge is one of those driving forces that can initiate real innovations in healthcare and the new grand prize winner was just announced. Nanobiosym is taking the ability to diagnose disease and monitor personal health outside of a hospital or pathology lab.
Nanobiosym® (NBS) is an innovation engine dedicated to creating a new science that emerges from the holistic integration of physics, biomedicine, and nanotechnology. NBS focuses on incubating transformational technologies that have the potential for game-changing impact and commercializing and scaling up these technologies for deployment in developed and developing world markets. NBS leverages science and technology to address our planet’s greatest unmet needs in global health, energy and the environment.
Here is their team video:
A few months ago, Navigenics.com offered me to analyze my saliva sample and genome. I happily accepted the offer and was curious to see what they could tell me. After graduating from medical school, I will start PhD training in personalized genetics this September so I’m quite into this emerging field of medicine.
I sent my saliva sample back to their laboratory this January and received the results in about 3-4 weeks.
I clicked on View my results and saw what kind of risks I have for certain medical conditions such as glaucoma, heart disease, prostate cancer, Crohn’s disease or osteoarthritis (9 conditions all together).
When I check one medical condition, I see something like that:
They tell me my risk compared to the whole population.
And how that medical condition is affected by environmental and genetic factors.
And if I’m interested in the particular single nucleotide polymorphism they analyzed, I can check the details.
- The information this service provided me with was useful and I will change some things in my lifestyle.
- I can talk with a genetic counselor to discuss the results of my genetic variations.
- I can print the results and share it with my doctor through an understandable report that mentions the references on which they based my risk percentages.
- They help me what I can do in order to lower my risks for specific conditions. They also let me know things that prevent multiple conditions on the Navigenics panels.
- Each condition is covered in details (causes, symptoms, treatments, etc.). This information is powered by Mayo Clinic.
- I can find support groups or more information on prevention.
- Let’s say 3 SNPs tell me I have elevated risk for heart disease. But next year, they will discover 4 new ones that defend me from this condition. So Navigenics, just like any other similar companies, can only tell me risk percentages that might change a lot in the future.
- For example, if based on my genomic results, I have elevated risk for heart disease, what I can do to lower this risk? Exercises, healthy lifestyle, etc. Things you can tell me without analyzing my genome. Though it’s not the fault of the service, but of the state genetics is in at the moment.
- It’s still way too expensive compared to what I get for my money as the results cannot really be used for medical decisions (I got a free package so I know I shouldn’t say that).
- Well, a few genetic tests can be useful when making medical decisions, but such tests should be ordered only by medical professionals. Or if not, at least genetic counseling should be for free as patients need serious guidance when reading the results of their genomic variations. (Update: Navigenics provides free genetic counseling for all Health Compass members and 1 hour of free counseling for all Insight members. And you can order the tests through a medical professional or on your own.)
- I think I can handle many things but it was almost impossible for me to understand which documents I have to send back to the lab with my saliva sample. A step-by-step video tutorial would be useful.
I’m thankful to the Team of Navigenics.com for showing me how their service works in action. I’m impressed and looking forward to seeing how they can make their service even better.