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Future of Health


Analysis and insight on the future of health. Stay updated as Singularity Hub discusses the most important trends related to the future of health.

A Year After Gene Therapy, Boys With Muscular Dystrophy Are Healthier and Stronger

Two and a half years ago, a study published in Science Advances detailed how the gene editing tool CRISPR/Cas-9 repaired genetic mutations related to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). The study was a proof of...

How AI Will Make Drug Discovery Low-Cost, Ultra-Fast, and Personalized

If you had to guess how long it takes for a drug to go from an idea to your pharmacy, what would you guess? Three years? Five years? How about the cost? $30 million?...

A Newly-Discovered Tiny CRISPR Protein Packs a Giant Punch For Human Gene Editing

The CRISPR family just grew bigger. The newcomer? A tiny DNA-chomping Cas protein, tucked away inside giant viruses. That’s the recent finding from Dr. Jennifer Doudna’s lab, one of the original discoverers of CRISPR, at...

A Renaissance of Genomics and Drugs Is Extending Human Longevity

The causes of aging are extremely complex and unclear. But with longevity clinical trials increasing, more answers—and questions—are emerging than ever before. With the dramatic demonetization of genome reading and editing over the past decade,...

Scientists 3D Printed Ears Inside Living Mice Using Light

Tissue engineering just got wilder and weirder. Using nothing but light and bioink, scientists were able to directly print a human ear-like structure under the skin of mice. The team used a healthy ear as...

Artificial Kidneys Are a Step Closer With This New Tech

10 percent of the global population suffers from some form of kidney disease. That includes 37 million people in the US, 100,000 of whom pass away each year awaiting a kidney transplant. Our kidneys are...

This Group of Scientists Is Making Sure We’re Ready for the Next Pandemic

Ask just about anyone how the US is doing on its response to the coronavirus pandemic and you’ll get some variation of the same answer: poorly. From a shortage of tests and medical supplies...

A Coronavirus Vaccine Could Be the First That Outwits Nature

It’s been grim news all around for COVID-19. Italy’s skyrocketing death toll has now risen above China’s. Countries are shutting borders. Massive cities in the US have ordered “shelter-in-place” to reduce viral transmission, severely...

Custom-Made Bones Are Being 3D Printed in a Lab Then Implanted in People

Become partially android for a couple of years while your body heals itself. It may sound far-fetched, but for patients needing reconstructive surgery, this could soon be the pitch from Danish startup Particle3D. The...

How to Battle an Epidemic? Digitize Its DNA and Share It With the World

A nightmarish scene was burnt into my memory nearly two decades ago: Changainjie, Beijing’s normally chaotic “fifth avenue,” desolate without a sign of life. Schools shut, subways empty, people terrified to leave their homes....

Why AI Will Be the Best Tool for Extending Our Longevity

Dmitry Kaminskiy speaks as though he were trying to unload everything he knows about the science and economics of longevity—from senolytics research that seeks to stop aging cells from spewing inflammatory proteins and other...

How a New Smart Skin Patch Uses Vibrations to Track Your Health

Wearables are so common these days we rarely give them second thought. Yet packed into FitBits and Apple Watches are multiple tiny, sensitive sensors that monitor your steps, heart rate, sleep and—with your input—even...

To Reinvent Healthcare, Stop Treating Patients and Start Building Communities

It’s not news that healthcare costs in the US are sky-high. What might be news to some, though, is that year over year, we’re spending more money to treat illness and disease, but getting...

How Much Can We Delay Aging? A Gene Therapy Trial Is About to Find Out

Aging is reversible. It’s still a somewhat controversial idea in humans. Yet recent attempts at delaying—or even reversing—diseases that pop up with age in animals clearly show that health doesn’t necessarily decline with age. The...

How a Centuries-Old Sculpting Method Is Helping 3D Print Organs With Blood Vessels

Blood vessels are the lifeline of any organ. The dense web of channels, spread across tissues like a spider web, allow oxygen and nutrients to reach the deepest cores of our hearts, brains, and lungs....

The First Evidence That Drugs Could Turn Back the Clock on Our Biological Age

After decades of research, here it is: the first promising evidence in humans, albeit imperfect and early, that a cocktail of three drugs is enough to reverse the epigenetic clock—a measure of someone’s biological...

How Much Is AI Really Moving the Needle on Health?

When it comes to health and wellness, most people have a similar goal: we want to live a healthier, longer, and happier life. Thanks to antibiotics, vaccines, medical imaging, and other technological breakthroughs, we’ve...

Cancer-Killing Living Drug Is Made Safer With a Simple Off Switch

When it comes to battling cancer, our most powerful weapon is also our most dangerous. You’ve heard of CAR-T: the cellular immunotherapy extracts a patient’s own immune cells, amps up their tumor-hunting prowess using gene...

The Prickly Debate on Germline Gene Therapy, and Moving It Forward

In 2016, a healthy baby boy came screaming into the world in a Mexican clinic. Harboring DNA from three parents, the baby had had his genes dramatically altered while still an embryo. Without the...

New Findings From the Human Microbiome Project

What if the solution to our health problems is already inside our bodies? The human body is replete with billions of microbugs thriving on our skin, inside our intestines, and even our private parts. Their...

New Progress in Stem-Cell-Free Regenerative Medicine

Regenerative medicine and stem cells are often uttered within the same breath, for good reason. In animal models, stem cells have reliably reversed brain damage from Parkinson’s disease, repaired severed spinal cords, or restored damaged...

The Hunt for a CRISPR Antidote Just Heated Up

When scientists behind the Manhattan Project heard of the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, their earlier exuberance gradually turned into morose regret. What began as a physics revolution had mutated into a weapon of...

Dr. Alexa Will See You Now: Can We Trust Digital Assistants With Our Health Data?

It’s hard to imagine a field where data is more valuable than in healthcare. Monitoring and interpreting crucial health indices can make the difference between an early diagnosis and a late one—and that, in...

How AI Can Tap into the Collective Mind to Transform Healthcare

In 2013, IBM sold the University of Texas’ MD Anderson Cancer Center on an audacious idea: that a single AI-powered platform, IBM Watson, could lend a digital hand to battle one of mankind’s most...

Senolytics Show Promise Against Alzheimer’s in Mice

For the past quarter century, scientists battled Alzheimer’s disease under a single guiding principle: that protein clumps—beta-amyloid—deposited outside sensitive brain cells gradually damage neuronal functions and trigger memory loss. The solution seems simple: remove...

The New Science of Psychedelics: A Tool for Changing Our Minds

As our prosperity rises, our mental health is on the decline—and fast. Rates of depression, anxiety, suicide, addiction, and other psychological disorders have skyrocketed in recent years, and nobody knows what to do about...

Extending Human Longevity With Regenerative Medicine

Lizards can regrow entire limbs. Flatworms, starfish, and sea cucumbers regrow entire bodies. Sharks constantly replace lost teeth, often growing over 20,000 teeth throughout their lifetimes. How can we translate these near-superpowers to humans? The...

How Three People With HIV Became Virus-Free Without HIV Drugs

You’re not entirely human. Our DNA contains roughly 100,000 pieces of viral DNA, totaling 8 percent of our entire genome. Most are ancient relics from long-forgotten invasions; but to HIV patients, the viral attacks are...

The Gene Therapy Trial Aiming to Fend Off Alzheimer’s

There’s a test for Alzheimer’s risk that genetic counselors don’t like to talk about. It’s not that they’re hiding the information—rather, it’s because Alzheimer’s has no cure. There are no consensus methods to actively prevent...

Graphene Shows Promise for Repairing Broken Bones

When you were a kid, did you ever sign a classmate’s cast after they broke an arm or a leg? Your name would be on display there for the rest of the semester. Broken...

The Next Data-Driven Healthtech Revolution

Increasing your healthspan (i.e. making 100 years old the new 60) will depend to a large degree on artificial intelligence. And, as we saw in last week’s blog, healthcare AI systems are extremely data-hungry. Fortunately, a...

The Pediatric AI That Outperformed Junior Doctors

Training a doctor takes years of grueling work in universities and hospitals. Building a doctor may be as easy as teaching an AI how to read. Artificial intelligence has taken another step towards becoming an...

This AI Can Tell Your Age by Analyzing Your Gut Microbiome

The plethora of bacteria and other tiny organisms that live in your gut, often referred to as the gut microbiome, don’t just help you digest food and fight disease. As detailed in a new...

How Genome Sequencing and Senolytics Can Help Us Live Healthier, Longer

The causes of aging are extremely complex and unclear. With the dramatic demonetization of genome reading and editing over the past decade, and Big Pharma, startups, and the FDA starting to face aging as a...

CRISPR Just Got More Powerful With an “On” Switch

For all its gene-editing prowess, mechanistically CRISPR is a bit like a power tool with a broken “off” switch. Hear me out: the entire CRISPR machinery is designed in a test tube, and once constructed...

5 Major Drug Breakthroughs That Happened in 2018

The pharmaceutical industry churns out dozens of new drugs and biological products every year. Most are small tweaks to something previously approved by the FDA—so called “me-too” alternatives, which are different formulations of a...

Life-or-Death Algorithms: Avoiding the Black Box of AI in Medicine

When it comes to applications for machine learning, few can be more widely hyped than medicine. This is hardly surprising: it’s a huge industry that generates a phenomenal amount of data and revenue, where...

First Successful Pig-to-Baboon Heart Transplant Heralds Human Trials

An oddity of an animal lived and thrived in a lab at the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) of Munich in the past few years. On the surface, they looked like normal, healthy baboons. They hopped...

A Smartphone App and 3D Printed Attachment for HIV Detection

There are more than 1.1 million people in the US living with HIV, and 1 in 7 of them don’t even know they have it. Young people are the most likely to be unaware...

CRISPR Babies: Stumbling Over Mankind’s Next Giant Leap

During the last weekend in November, MIT Tech Review broke a world-changing story: the birth of the first children to have undergone gene editing as embryos. The Associated Press swiftly followed with a longer...

Why Scientists Are Rushing to Catalog the World’s Poop

If a group of scientists is successful, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault will be getting a cousin—one that may initially sound rather strange. Instead of gathering seeds to preserve plant species, this project involves...

Ears Grown From Apples? The Promise of Plants for Engineering Human Tissue

Inspiration for game-changing science can seemingly come from anywhere. A moldy bacterial plate gave us the first antibiotic, penicillin. Zapping yeast with a platinum electrode led to a powerful chemotherapy drug, cisplatin. For Dr. Andrew...

AI Won’t Replace Doctors, It Will Augment Them

The future of medicine is a physician-patient-AI golden triangle, one in which machines augment clinical care and diagnostics—one with the patient at its heart. That is the takeaway message of DeepMind researcher Dr. Alan Karthikesalingam,...

Custom-Grown Bones, and Other Wild Advances in Regenerative Medicine

The human body has always been an incredible machine, from the grand feats of strength and athleticism it can accomplish down to the fine details of each vein, nerve, and cell. But the way...

The Massive Project That’s Building a ‘Google Earth for Human Health’

In the medical study Hall of Fame, the Framingham Heart Study takes the throne. An ongoing project that’s spanned three generations and almost 70 years, the Heart study was an early attempt to track factors...

New Technique Heals Wounds With Reprogrammed Skin Cells

People with severe burns, bedsores, or chronic diseases such as diabetes are at risk for developing wounds known as cutaneous ulcers, which can extend through multiple layers of the skin. Apart from being extremely painful,...

Eternal Life Is No Good Without Eternal Youth

Longer lives seem attractive, but as we age we become susceptible to a host of late-life diseases that can prevent us from enjoying our later years. But science is beginning to create ways to...

New Study Is the Most Successful Attempt to Gene Edit Human Embryos So Far

In the quest for CRISPR supremacy, China just won another first. Last week, a team used CRISPR-Cas9 to correct a single mistaken DNA letter in over a dozen human embryos—and succeeded 16 out of...

Landmark FDA Approval Brings Powerful Gene Silencing Method to Market

Earlier this month, the FDA approved an entirely new family of drugs, one so powerful that it could put CRISPR-based gene therapy to shame. Backed by two decades of research and a Nobel Prize,...

CAR-T May Be a Silver Bullet Against Cancer—and Here’s What Else It Can Do

CAR-T is the super-soldier serum of cell therapy: you pluck out an immune cell soldier, inject it with a dose of new genes, and send the enhanced cell back into the host body—bam! Suddenly...

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