Tomorrowland's Message For Life Sciences
Father Helps Son With Diabetes, Develops 'Bionic Pancreas' [Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAPS5F68x7A]
The movie Tomorrowland is getting mixed reviews. Some critics say that despite its spectacular special effects, it lacks a coherent storyline. Others have a different take. One critic writes that: "Tomorrowland delivers a loud and clear message of hope for humanity, which is a welcome thing to hear at any point in time."
Well that is good news - especially for those of us in the business of innovation. There's nothing more satisfying for me than to help solve the challenges facing the world from the perspective of the life sciences. That's because the assorted life science industries - everything from Big Pharma and biotech to healthcare - are undergoing a tremendous and exciting evolution. Because of the power of Big Data, they're consolidating into one, massive force for good.
Just consider how the merging of Big Data and analytics with life sciences has helped tackle some of the serious problems facing the world in the last six months alone. Big Pharma, for one, has become even bigger by going global. We witnessed the worldwide reaction to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa earlier this year. Scientists, pharmaceutical executives, and doctors from every continent joined forces to fight this epidemic.
On the other hand, the outbreak brought forth some serious, underlying issues to the forefront. For example, the information systems behind these massive global efforts have not caught up with our expectations. We became starkly aware of this fact when we saw that an infected person, undiagnosed, could board a flight and bring a dangerous disease to a new place in under 10 hours. The divide between advances in life sciences and the mounds of data surrounding it is still a challenge.
It's not all doom and gloom, however. Big Data is making its presence felt in some cases. For example, oncology was the highest growth segment for life sciences companies in 2013. Many forms of cancer are steadily becoming chronic, treatable diseases thanks to the ability to parse vast new troves of information. Big Pharma and other life sciences companies are using this information to respond to new diseases with intensity and vigor.
These efforts will be aided by the rise of the wearable computing platform. Probably the best application of the wearable so far has involved health monitoring. Why? It appears as though people enjoy monitoring their health and being proactive about it. But, the digital agenda is a little more complex than that. Life sciences companies are moving beyond the pill to focus on developing patient-centric suites of products and services. Have you heard of the 'bionic pancreas'? It's a combination hardware-software solution that combines implantable, continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps managed by updateable treatment algorithms. An extension of bionics is, of course, focusing on the Internet of Things. 'Connector' applications that capture diagnostic data will support many enterprise and individual patient use cases.
Life sciences enterprises are learning to catch up with troves of data that are at their disposal. In their efforts to harness the information effectively and quickly, organizations are delivering a loud and clear message of hope for humanity, not unlike the one in Tomorrowland.