Archive for January 13th, 2011

YOUR next pill

Thursday, January 13th, 2011 by Roberto Saracco

Actually, it is not going to be exactly the next pill your doctor will prescribe you but in a decade it will become possible to have person designed drugs, hence to swallow YOUR pill.

There are many tiles in the health care puzzle that need to come together but step by step we are getting there. And it is important because although we all look alike we are slightly different one another an a drug that made marvels on your friend may slip through your body like a sugar pill with no effect (or a nasty one…).

One of the tiles is the sequencing of our own DNA. This has to be fast and cheap. It is getting faster and cheaper. From the 7 years and a few billion $ of the first sequencing to a few weeks and some thousands dollars today.

DNA sequencing chip developed at the London Imperial College

DNA sequencing chip developed at the London Imperial College

And now, Scientists at the London Imperial College have announced a chip including nanopores that can be sequencing 10 million bases in just a second, that is the full DNA sequencing would take about five minutes. And the cost should be in the order of a few $.

Take  a look at the article.

What is of interest to us, telecom folks, is the fact that this is just one tile of the quilt. Another one, and a crucial one, is telecommunications. Once you have the possibility of customizing a drug to a specific person you need to monitor that person to look for any adverse reaction, first, and to gauge its real effectiveness. In fact that pill has never been tried out before because it wouldn’t have made sense since it has been manufactured specifically for that person (actually this is a very simplified story, but I think it can make the point).

Schematics of the sequencing process

Schematics of the sequencing process

Hence you need connectivity so that sensors in symbiotic relation with your body can inform a monitoring centre of what is going on. There will be cases where a once in while check is ok, others that may required hourly control and others a continuous surveillance. And pervasive communications is there to serve you.

An interesting new perspective on the future of telecommunications.