3.) Healthcare Will Embrace Gene Editing
We are on the verge of a complete shift in the way technology and health interact. Organic 3D printing, subcellular engineering through technologies such as CRISPR, and the decoding of protein operation will drive the revolution.
In this next decade, we may see the first usable organs for transplant grown out of our own cells. The basic structure will be 3D-printed in dissolvable material. Skin cells from a recipient will be converted to T-cells, which are then programmed to grow around the scaffold and become a kidney, liver, or other organ. No anti-rejection drugs will be needed because it IS the donor’s organ.
|(Image source: MD&M)|
Within the next decade we’ll see experimental treatments with CRISPR for many currently untreatable cancers and other serious genetic afflictions. Programming a virus to modify DNA or attack cells with specific DNA defects will eventually allow for fast and effective treatment of almost all known ailments.
The first such treatments will cost millions (maybe tens of millions) of dollars. But when the T-cells and engineered viri can be injected and programmed to rebuild organs in situ, or cure the disease with few side effects, the costs and level of infrastructure needed will drop to a small fraction of what they will be at peak. When the human body is largely rebuildable via injection (probably 20-30 years down the road), healthcare becomes no more serious than auto repair.