We are living in the era in which technology is developing in an insanely rapid pace. New fields are created daily, as well as new models and processes. The pharma revolution is one of the best things of the 21st century, not to mention that Steve Jobs also predicted that the biggest innovations in this century are going to emerge from biology and chemistry. The future is finally here, and we are proud to present the “Magnificent seven” of the pharmacy industry. Enjoy.
Pharma research institutes are already taking advantage of smartphones and their powerful processors, as well as their advanced movement-tracking, measurement and information-recording sensors. Apple already has several mHealth apps that are used for clinical research, and some of them include apps that target Parkinson’s, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma and breast cancer. And since probably 70 percent of people in the world own a smartphone, more people will contribute their data which will paint a clearer picture to scientists.
However, mHealth sensors are not just for smartphones. Many wearable devices like fitness bands and smartwatches also have accelerometers and GPS sensors which can take biometric readings. And if these sensors become more accurate than they already are, there is an enormous chance that in the near future we are going to be able to gather clinical trial data in real time, remotely. Plus, we already have a bunch of apps that can track our heart rate, sleep, the amount of steps etc.
You saw 3D printed chairs, balls etc., but did you know that recently, the world’s first 3D printed drug was created? The drug’s manufacturer is Aprecia Pharmaceuticals and the drug is called SPRITAM (an epilepsy drug). This is incredibly useful as it allows the pill to deliver much higher doses of medicine, and still be porous enough to dissolve in our bodies – which is beneficial for all those patients who have troubles swallowing their medication.
It is actually a form of microscopic technology that can scale from 1 to 100 nanometers. These nanoparticles can travel around our body through our bloodstream with ease. They are composed of biological-based nanomachines which are already present in anti-cancer drugs.
This particular technology is advancing rapidly, and currently, researchers are developing a nanotechnology that tracks when the patient took their medication, and then feeds the information back to their doctor via a mobile app. Also, they are investigating the use of nanobots (microscopic robots) which can be consumed in a form of a pill or injection, and can be programmed to perform various tasks inside our bodies, like seek and destroy cancer cells or perform some surgical tasks.
Computers that have learning capabilities are now capable of collecting and interpreting millions of pages of data and literature, to assist pharma in developing new medications and repurposing the existing ones. Also, a computer called IBM Watson has the ability to discover unknown connections between diseases.
Watson is already used as research assistant. It can recall millions of texts and notes from any area, and make an assessment in just a few minutes.
Cognitive enhancer pills
Nootropics, or smart pills – or for movie addicts Limitless pill – are drugs that improve our cognitive function, particularly memory, creativity and motivation. Sounds like good news for all the students out there, right?
This is an approach that connects clinical and molecular information in order to understand the biological basis of a disease. DNA is converted into data through genome sequencing, and this data can be used by scientists to identify specific gene abnormalities and understand which drug is going to be the most effective option.
The end of human experimentation
That’s right, there will be no barbaric testing anymore, because now scientists are working on creating a detailed simulation of human physiology. There will be no more ethical dilemmas, it is going to be cheaper, faster and more reliable. Plus, it is a lot more humane, since no actual person is going to get hurt during the research process.
We can see the effects of progress all around us, and we can definitely say that the world is never going to be same.