It’s time for hospitals to brace for the next phase of precision medicine. At least, that’s what leading investors, researchers and other experts suggest when asked what the next two decades of biotechnology innovation will bring to medicine.
Innovations in biotech—generally speaking, practices that exploit biological processes, like DNA sequencing and targeted therapies—have begun a significant shift in how medicine is practiced.
“I see a real opportunity to manipulate genes in both individuals who are affected with disease but also, in the future, potentially to prevent disease,” said Jennifer Doudna, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, who many experts credit with developing the CRISPR gene-editing technique. “We’re not there right now, but I think that’s a direction the field is headed, and certainly in two decades I think we could be at that point.”
The targeting of biotech has been driven by continued interest from agencies like HHS’ National Institutes of Health, as well as investors who have poured millions into the space.
In February, HHS launched what it called the Foundry for American Biotechnology to spur development of innovations that would help the U.S. respond to health security threats and disasters.
The high levels of investment and interest could, in the long term, totally change how clinicians and patients interact over coming decades, with much of the innovation centered on more personalized care.
More frequent DNA analyses and always-on monitoring—maybe with implantable sensors—for example could drastically change how patient care is managed.