Future Health Care Trend
Future Health Care Trend
  • Reporter Lee Ji-a
  • 승인 2015.01.01 12:44
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FEATURE: Promising Technologies of the Future
Now, people experience symptoms of a disease and then go to a hospital. A doctor diagnoses the disease and prescribes medicine. But, in the future, the system will be quite different. In the future, the focus will be on prevention. Since researchers discovered all the information of the human genome, medical technology has rapidly advanced. The cost of knowing the genome has decreased steadily, under $1000, and in the near future ordinary people can have their own genome information. The future health care trend revolves around this point. For details, The Postech Times interviewed Professor Seung-Woo Lee (IBB).
People will soon be able to go to a hospital with their own genome information. The doctor will know their family’s inherited disease. Before a disease occurs, the doctor will be able to provide lifestyle modifications or medicine to prevent diseases which can be arisen from inherited genetic mutations. The technology already exists, but it is not available to the general public yet. Dr. Michael Snyder, a director of Stanford Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine and some researchers have already received this kind of medical consultation. They find out their own genome information in constant cycle, the data is collected, and are alerted when told that changes appear. For example, if the number of any protein increases, then they trace the past. Today, the cause of the increased production of certain proteins and ways to decrease production again are well known. With this information, lifestyle alterations, such as increasing exercise time and eating more vegetables, can be recommended to prevent possible causes of diseases. The technology is unfamiliar in Korea, but, in America, The University of Texa MD Anderson Cancer Center (one of  the top hospitals in cancer research) announced program, so called Moon Shots program, which seeks to develop new diagnostics, devices, drugs, and polices to detect, prevent, and treat cancer by capitalizing on the convergence of genomics, artificial intelligence, and other emerging technologies. In addition to the process explained above, with this technology doctors can know specifically which genome information in each patient causes a disease. This could differ even among individuals with the same disease. The ability to prescribe treatment and medicine based on genome information will make personalized care possible.
Traditionally doctors have prescribed medicine chemically synthesized in a factory. Although all patients have vastly different genome information, they have to take the same medicine. So the medicine is more effective for some patients than for others. People have focused on another type of medicine, which is called “Biologics” or “Biopharmaceuticals”, to improve this situation. Biopharmaceuticals describe products generated by modern biological methods. Among many biopharmaceutical products, monoclonal antibodies have continued their march on the clinic and market. Antibodies react to a very specific antigen (a part of protein in general) and never react to other antigens. Researchers try to find natural and proper antibodies to treat diseases, especially cancer. The market for antibodies is forecasted almost 30 trillion dollars in the coming decade. Biopharmaceuticals already occupied 40% of top 50 selling drugs in US, and this is expected to be over 60% in 2018. 
Korea’s growth has come largely from its manufacturing industry. But many companies related to smartphones and similar devices are facing stiff competition from companies in China that have access to cheaper materials and labor. So Korea needs to explore other fields to continue growing. The average life span is rapidly approaching one hundred years and most people want to live healthy lives and will readily invest in this technology. Maybe in ten or fifteen years the future health care trend will start in Korea. If medical systems support the technology, the future health care trend will be one of the possible growth engines.