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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.

Moonshot Project Aims to Understand and Beat Cancer Using Protein Maps

Understanding cancer is like assembling IKEA furniture. Hear me out. Both start with individual pieces that make up the final product. For a cabinet, it’s a list of labeled precut plywood. For cancer, it’s a...

Moderna’s mRNA Vaccine for HIV Is Starting Human Trials

Before 2020, many of us had never heard of mRNA. With the development of Covid-19 vaccines dependent on this molecule, though, it was all over the news. Covid was the first disease mRNA therapeutics...

Molecular Farming Means the Next Vaccine Could Be Edible and Grown in a Plant

It’s the dog days of summer. You bite down on a plump, chilled orange. Citrus juice explodes in your mouth in a refreshing, tingling burst. Ahh. And congratulations—you’ve just been vaccinated for the latest virus. That’s...

New ‘Universal Switch’ Lets Scientists Fine-Tune Gene Therapy

The dose makes the poison. That’s the central tenet of pharmacology. Even salt can kill you if you take too little or too much. The one transformative treatment that hasn’t followed this rule? Gene therapy. It’s...

Scientists Bred Healthy Mice Using Artificial Eggs and Ovaries Made From Stem Cells

The baby mice popcorning around their cages looked utterly normal. But in fact, they’re a technological wonder: they were born from bioengineered eggs matured inside a man-made ovary. Even crazier, both the eggs and...

‘Next-Generation’ Total Artificial Heart Successfully Transplanted into First US Patient

Late last year, a French company called Carmat received approval in Europe for its total artificial heart. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a heart made of synthetic and biological materials intended for implantation...

Treating the Brain Through the Stomach: Tweaking the Gut Microbiome Slowed ALS in Mice

Ask any neuroscientist 20 years ago if gut bug excrement could slow down an untreatable brain disease, and they’d brush off the idea without a second thought. Yet the gut-brain connection has emerged as one...

How Long Can We Live? New Research Says the Human Lifespan Tops Out at 150

Even with a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, a lucky draw in the genetic lottery, and the best medicine known to man, your natural lifespan has a hard limit of 150 years, say researchers....

One CRISPR Treatment Lowered Cholesterol in Monkeys by 60 Percent

More than one in three American adults have high cholesterol, which can lead to serious health problems like heart disease and stroke. The best remedies we have right now are cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins,...

How One Round of Gene Therapy Fixed 48 Kids’ Immune Systems

Gene therapy has shown promise in recent years for treating a range of diseases, including sickle-cell anemia, hemophilia, various forms of inherited blindness, mesothelioma, and Duchenne muscular dystrophy. A new success story may soon...

A Massive New Gene Editing Project Is Out to Crush Alzheimer’s

When it comes to Alzheimer’s versus science, science is on the losing side. Alzheimer’s is cruel in the most insidious way. The disorder creeps up in some aging brains, gradually eating away at their ability...

3 Medical Innovations Fueled by Covid-19 That Will Outlast the Pandemic

A number of technologies and tools got a chance to prove themselves for the first time in the context of Covid-19. Three researchers working in gene-based vaccines, wearable diagnostics, and drug discovery explain how...

A Language AI Is Accurately Predicting Covid-19 ‘Escape’ Mutations

For all their simplicity, viruses are sneaky little life forces. Take SARS-Cov-2, the virus behind Covid-19. Challenged with the human immune system, the virus has gradually reshuffled parts of its genetic material, making it easier...

Fighting Covid-19 Brought These Lasting Breakthroughs to Science and Medicine

2020 was the year of the pandemic. But the arrival of Covid-19 in January not only threw an Earth-sized wrench into our lives, it also dictated the course of scientific discovery. Never before have...

DeepMind’s AlphaFold Is Close to Solving One of Biology’s Greatest Challenges

DeepMind may just have cracked one of the grandest challenges in biology. One that rivals the discovery of DNA’s double helix. It could change biomedicine, drug discovery, and vaccine development forever. The actual achievement sounds...

Breakthrough NASA Study Discovers Surprising Key to Astronauts’ Health in Space

Thanks to SpaceX, traveling beyond Earth now seems pretty tangible for us commoners. True, a ticket to the International Space Station currently runs $55 million (ouch). Technologically, however, the triumphant splashdown of SpaceX’s astronaut-carrying Dragon...

Another Win for Senolytics: Fighting Aging at the Cellular Level Just Got Easier

Longevity research always reminds me of the parable of blind men and an elephant. A group of blind men, who’ve never seen an elephant before, each touches a different part of the elephant’s body...

Can We Wipe Out All Coronaviruses for Good? Here’s What a Group of 200 Scientists Think

One vaccine to rule them all. That was the blue sky goal for a new global collaboration with hopes to beat coronaviruses. I’m not just talking about SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for our current...

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...

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