The medical world is undergoing an incredible revolution right now, even though many of its impacts will not be felt for another 5-10 years. The Gizmodo website is now offering a look at how the pain relievers, birth control pills, antibiotics and bandages that currently sit in our medicine cabinet will be transformed, within a decade, into a very different assortment of revolutionary therapeutics.
By the 2030s, it says, doctors will be prescribing drugs based on our genetic makeup and on a quick sequencing of the actual microbial diseases that have been identified in our bloodstream. The pills will be uniquely designed to attack exactly the pathogens causing the infection, rather than the antibiotics of today, which generally suppress or destroy all of the bacteria in our body, whether or not they are harmful or invasive. This breakthrough will be exceptionally effective against the pathogens that antibiotics won’t touch today: the viruses that cause diseases ranging from the common cold to COVID.
Some of the pills of the 2030s will contained engineered bacteria that would function as programmable factories, producing the required drug therapies on demand directly inside our bodies. Once we have received the required dosage, days, weeks or months later, we would drink a special solution containing a harmless chemical that would flush these drug-producing microbes from our bodies.
In the late 2030s, these living organisms could be replaced by nanoscale robots that would monitor our microbiome and bloodstream for invasive pathogens and would either signal our smart device telling us to head to the nearest hospital, or simply take action to destroy the invader directly.
Other scientists propose that mental health ‘pills’ will contain cannabinoid compounds, psilocybin and other psychedelics that are not typically found in our bathroom cabinets today. People with chronic depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and even schizophrenia might be treated by psychedelic interventions that are being investigated in clinical trials around the world.
Finally, the humble band-aid is undergoing some potentially revolutionary changes. Recent research at the National University of Singapore is exploring bandages that help blood to clot without sticking to the wound. Other projects are looking at ways to deliver drugs to the wound through these super-bandages, and bandages that pull skin together for rapid healing, and electronic bandages that would speed up the healing process even further. Some of these could be comprised of skin cells grown in the lab, which would trigger healing of traumatic injuries in days without scarring.
The article notes that the contents of our medicine cabinet have not changed much in the last 30 years. That will not be the case going forward.
This article was written by an independent writer for Brewster Financial Planning LLC and is not intended as individualized legal or investment advice.