Discover Magazine recently posted an interesting interview with Leroy Hood, who invented the automated DNA sequencer (among other things) and was a key player in the Human Genome Project. He has since founded the Institute for Systems Biology, which is a non-profit research center focused on understanding how genes and proteins function in complete biological systems.
There is a lot of provocative stuff here, but we’ll just quote one of Dr. Hood’s more interesting predictions. When asked about his claim that medicine is on the edge of an ‘information revolution’:
In less than a decade, each of us will be surrounded by a virtual cloud of billions of points of medical data. Genome sequencing will cost only a few hundred dollars, so that will become a part of the medical record of each individual. A fraction of a drop of blood will be used to measure 2,500 blood proteins that assess the possibility of disease in each of your 50 major organs. Medicine will be personalized and preventive: Your genome might predict that you have an 80 percent chance of breast cancer by the time you are 50, but if you take a preventive drug starting when you are 40, the chance will drop to 2 percent. We will have the computational tools to connect all this information so we can gain enormous insights into health and disease and fashion an unbelievably predictive medicine of the future.
What do you think? Where will we be in 10 years? 20 years?