I enjoy thinking about the endless possibilities in medicine as biotech and infotech converge. Much of what will make up personalized medicine depends upon advancements in cost-effective diagnostics that will drive more efficient individual treatment plans for patients.
This is not a trivial pursuit, but it will happen over time. Some think sooner than later. This week at the MassBio Investors Forum in Boston, Steven Burrill, CEO of Burrill & Company, offered his view of the future:
“I have a somewhat BlackBerry-centric view of what healthcare will be in 2020,” Burrill said. “In 2020, most of healthcare is going to be you or I spitting on a chip that gets put in a cell phone or a BlackBerry, which, much like a GPS system, is going to send information up to the magic computer system in the sky to analyze it and it’s going to be predictive of what’s going to happen to me. Healthcare is going to become an information-centric business driven off a confluence of technology that’s going to change everything.”
This being the case 10 years from now is a stretch, but given the current technologies under development it’s not a matter of if, but when. Fifty years after the discovery of the transistor we are already putting 2 billion of them on a chip, or 300 of them on a red blood cell. Smart lab-on-a-chip technology introduces other challenges, but it is a relatively new field with nothing but upside. The only question is whether or not when spit-on-a-chip becomes a reality you’ll need a BlackBerry.