With Leroy Hood, President, Institute for Systems Biology; hosted by Mark Anderson.
Hood’s Institute for Systems Biology has established a new way of thinking about health and medicine he calls P4. It is …
- Patient-activated and
“How has systems medicine [P4] been transformational?”
- By determining the complete genome sequences of families, you can ID disease genes much more effectively than in random individuals.
- IDing disease-specific genes. We have now identified 300 actionable genetic disease variants. Ie. Osteoporosis was reversed when young guy found out he had faulty calcium carrying gene. “In a 5 year period, we’ll be able to sequence a human genome in 15 minutes rather than the 4 weeks it takes now.”
- Made blood a way of distinguishing health from disease. Systems biology has IDed organ-specific proteins in your blood that can be used to track degradation of or problems with your organs. This has already been used to ID lung cancer and soldiers with PTSD>
- Almost every disease that we’ve heard of is multiple diseases. It’s really critical to stratify those into their categories so that you can treat them.
“In the future,” Hood says, “we’re really going to push the idea of wellness in a way we’ve never pushed before.” That will mean longitudinal tests over the course of our lifetimes that monitor changes in our blood and an increased focus on the quantified self.
There are some challenges and questions here:
- No integrated company so far exists to deal with networks of information around wellness.
- How do we create IT for healthcare that can deal with these kinds of data?
- A spectrum of health companies are going to have to rewrite their business plans in the next 10 years to keep up with this democratization and digitization of medicine. Those that fail to do so will become the dinosaurs of medicine.
- National inactivity. “If we don’t get our act together,” Hood said, “the Chinese are really going to be the drivers on P4 medicine … They have essentially no constraints on how they use data.”
“You can’t be defeated by the naysayers,” Hood advises. “It’s that conservative, small-minded view of things that you just have to have the confidence to say, ‘You’re wrong.’”
He waits a minute. “Sometimes you just have to wait for the wise old birds to die off.”