• Artificial Intelligence
  • Jared Polites
  • JAN 29, 2018

AI and nanotechnology are innovating healthcare

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Tackling global healthcare crises is no small feat; Luckily more companies are stepping onto the stage with tech-based approaches to fixing human problems

Despite the significant progress we have made in important areas of healthcare like vaccines, treatments and prevention for deadly diseases like polio, measles and the flu, we still face a number of health challenges that threaten all of us, wherever we are.

Take Global Warming. While most people are aware of the living condition threats shifting global temperatures pose, many still don’t understand the Global Warming’s potential to wreak havoc on our bodies. For example, populations in Southeast Asia are already under threat from Global Warming implications.

According to a 2017 report created by the Asian Development Bank (and published on relief.net), rising temperatures in this region of the globe could spark an uptick in the amount of death caused by heat, air pollution, and vector-borne diseases like Malaria.

Southeast Asia (and the globe for that matter) are devising solutions to slow down temperature rise. However even with increased efforts, climate change is unfolding, which means millions and millions of people’s health and livelihoods may be at stake.

Some of these threats have actually come into existence by adapting to the treatments we have developed to fight them. One example: superbugs. These are bacterial infections, which can range from strep throat to salmonella, that have developed a resistance to antibiotics. According to the Centers for Disease Control, at least 2 million people become infected by superbugs in the United States each year, and at least 23,000 people die from these infections.

These superbugs are able to adapt to our antibiotic treatments very quickly, and, so far, we have been unable to keep up with their rate of change. In fact, a 2014 report projected that superbugs would kill 10 million people a year globally by 2050, a prediction that Forbes called, “the stuff of nightmares.”

In fact, 2017 alone saw the a resurgence of diseases that many may have long thought were extinct, including the plague. As reported by the World Health Organization, as of early December 2017 2,417 cases of the plague were reported in Madagascar. Ultimately, 209 people lost their lives to this outbreak.

This recent plague outbreak saw a rise in pneumonic cases, which are typically less common than bubonic and affect the lungs. According to a November 2017 Independent report, experts are worried that this latest outbreak was the result of antibiotic resistance, which ultimately spawned a new strain.

And antibiotic resistance is not only impacting plague cases, it is also sparking increased resistance to Gonorrhea treatment. In early 2017, WHO health expertsnamed the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae, as one of the most potent threats to human health due to its rapid resistance to typical treatments. This bacteria was included on a list of 12 that all pose increasingly serious threats across the globe.

While there are a number of factors that are affecting our ability to effectively prevent, deal with, or eliminate diseases, Nano Vision is developing a solution to enable a more efficient, global system for medical discovery to help us catch up in the race against superbugs and other diseases, including cancers of all kinds.

By developing a chip that can mint its own cryptocurrency to assign real value to molecular data, Nano Vision plans to create a decentralized economic system to change the way we address world health.

According to Nano Vision, “Today, our approach to fighting global health threats isn’t working. Trillions of dollars are spent globally with sporadic successes. Critical data is siloed in individual institutions and governments around the world when it should be widely shared and improved upon for collective progress. Clinical trials cost billions of dollars to conduct, but over 90% of them end in failure.”

Nano Vision’s perspective is that one of the biggest issues underlying these roadblocks is a lack of global molecular datasets.

A critical part of the Nano Vision platform will be the Nano Sense chip, which is being designed in partnership with Arm, the world’s largest semiconductor IP company owned by SoftBank and the SoftBank Vision Fund, to sense and collect molecular data from the real world to create an entirely new dataset for scientists and researchers to work from. Anyone would be able to use this chip to collect data for the shared economy, from a hospital system to an individual, or “citizen scientist.”

This kind of real-time, real-world data is especially critical to studying fast-changing and adaptable superbugs. By participating in Nano Vision’s new economy, scientists around the world will be able to share their research to a common database for a more collaborative, effective approach to medical research. Shared data will be tagged with the contributor’s information, meaning that they will receive credit and compensation whenever their research is accessed or used to create a health solution.

With additional partners like Baylor College of Medicine and the National University of Singapore, Nano Vision hopes to solve the grand challenges of human and environmental health more quickly and efficiently than ever before by converging the latest technology and removing existing restrictions and borders.

Tackling global healthcare crises is no small feat: to enact real progress the healthcare industry, as a whole, must find ways to challenge outdated treatments and champion innovative solutions designed meet the most pressing health challenges of our time head on. Luckily more companies are stepping onto the stage with tech-based approaches to fixing human problems.

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