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Leroy Chiao Marveled at These Medical Technologies

June 20, 2016

Leroy Chiao

Astronaut Leroy Chiao has traveled to space four times, lived for more than six months on the International Space Station, and logged dozens of hours in spacewalks—pretty mind-blowing stuff. But in a June 14 keynote address at MD&M East in New York City, he marveled at many of the medical technologies that have cropped up over the course of his lifetime.

Leroy Chiao“I heard the other day that biomedical advances are going at something like 50 times the speed of Moore’s Law,” he said, referring to the observation that the processing power of computers doubles about every two years.

Here are five medtech innovations he cited as giant leaps for mankind.

1. Cloud-Based Electronic Medical Records

While Chiao explained that the original fax machine, which allowed people to scan and send documents over telephone lines, was met with wonder, years later the idea of cloud computing was initially met with head scratching. It took a while, he said, for people to understand that the concept could potentially be “bigger than the internet.”

In particular, he said, cloud computing is revolutionizing the way we handle medical records.

“It…has the capability to make medical records secure and accessible and cross-referenced against other data.”

2. DNA Sequencing

Genome sequencing used to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, but now companies like 23andMe can provide consumers with genetic testing and analysis for less than $100.

“The promise of personalized medicine has never been closer,” Chiao said, citing the technique known as CRISPR, which allows for gene editing.

“The dream is we can customize and fix things on the fly,” he said. “But, of course, there are huge, huge ethical questions about this kind of thing.”

3. Tissue Engineering

Some day in the not-too-distant future, we may see actual organs that are lab-grown to be a perfect match for their recipients.

“There’s no question of any kind of transplant rejects or anything like that,” Chiao said.

Read More – 5 Medical Technologies That Blew an Astronaut’s Mind

Posted in Nanotechnology by Jamie Hartford on June 14, 2016

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