Medical Revolution

The future of medicine is happening now, even if it will not land in our medicine cabinets for another 5 to 10 years. Virtual doctor appointments are becoming common place, mental health services are available via text, birth control can be ordered online through a portal – no visit needed. The focus will be more on the individual, their make-up, and prevention vs reactive treatment.

By the 2030s, Gizmodo reports, 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. Medications and treatments will be uniquely designed to combat the exact pathogens causing the infection, rather than the antibiotics of today, which generically suppress or destroy all the bacteria in our body, even if they are not harmful or invasive. This breakthrough has the potential to be remarkably effective against the pathogens that antibiotics won’t touch today, from the viruses which cause the common cold to COVID.

It is expected that some of the medications in the 2030s will contain engineered bacteria which would function as programmable factories, producing the required drug therapies on demand directly inside our bodies. Once a patient had received the required dosage, days, weeks or months later, they would drink a special solution containing a harmless chemical which would flush the drug-producing microbes from their body. Eventually, these living organisms could be replaced by nanoscale robots which would screen our microbiome and bloodstream for invasive pathogens. These robots would then either alert a smart device telling us to head to the nearest hospital, or simply take action to eliminate the invader directly.

Research also points to mental health medications which will contain cannabinoid compounds, psilocybin and other psychedelics which are not typically found in our bathroom cabinets today. Individuals 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 globe.

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, bandages that pull skin together for rapid healing, and electronic bandages which would speed up the healing process even further. Some of these could be comprised of skin cells grown in the lab, capable of triggering healing of traumatic injuries in days without scarring.

Medical Revolution
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While the contents of our medicine cabinet have not changed much in the last 30 years, this will not be the case going forward.