By Catarina Flyborg, general manager, GE Healthcare Life Sciences Cell and Gene Therapy division
It excites me to think about what the future holds for healthcare—from where a person’s health record will reside to how diseases will be treated. Technology—mobile, social, and cloud—has created a paradigm shift in healthcare. Patients may soon have access to their health information via their phones and will be collecting and sharing their data. The wealth of information about diseases and associated genes now available through public databases will drive improvements in diagnosis and guide treatment. Through the collection of real-time information, drug companies will gain a better understanding of what treatments affect specific patients; how they can optimize efficacy of therapies and minimize side effects; and how to improve clinical trial design. Improvements to equipment and digital advancements will modernize drug manufacturing.
Patients have already begun to be treated with their own cells—albeit cells that have been removed, optimized at a biopharma manufacturing site, and returned to the body—in order to replace, repopulate, or reset the body’s own immune system. These new cell therapies have the potential to transform how we treat and potentially cure once life-threatening diseases.