Imagine a future world where victims of spinal cord injuries can walk again, where there is no shortage of donor organs for those in need……..and where damaged and weak parts of the body are simply replaced with new ones. This is the exciting promise of regenerative medicine, an area of medicine that develops procedures to regrow, repair or replace damaged or diseased cells, organs or tissues. Regenerative medicine includes the generation and use of therapeutic stem cells, tissue engineering and the production of artificial organs. The phrase regenerative medicine has only been in our lexicon for two decades, but the concepts that drive it and the passion to harness the power of the body to heal itself have been dreamed of for millennia. Exponential growth in knowledge in the fields biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, genetics, medicine, robotics, and beyond has collided to fuel an extraordinary opportunity…to deliver on the hype surrounding the vision. Success will be defined by bringing extraordinary solutions for some of the most complex and life-threatening problems faced by humankind to the clinic.
Clinicians, scientists, engineers, lawyers, business people are all playing key roles in moving regenerative medicine forward. On this episode, we are going to talk with one of the world’s most accomplished transplant surgeons who is also a renowned regenerative medicine scientist and accomplished entrepreneur about his life, clinical career, and his entrepreneurial activities.
Dr. Paulo Fontes is recently became a Professor of Surgery and Director, Research & Innovation at West Virginia University. He is a co-founder and shareholder of 2 startup companies and the Director of the VGS Foundation, Sao Paulo, Brazil, which is a non-profit life science foundation linked to a $65M fund.
As we have touched upon, in many of our conversations, the United States health care system desperately needs reform to harness costs, improve quality and increase access. All elements of health care, including policymakers, have a role to play in transforming our system. I think everyone can agree in theory that federal policy changes are necessary to help fix this problem…..although there is lots of disagreement about what those changes should ultimately be. Such top-down solutions alone, however, cannot fix the broken system that currently exists. The broken healthcare delivery system also needs transformation from the bottom up…..by entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs - - the type of innovators that we often talk to and introduce to our listeners. So what is one of the transformative things that healthcare innovators are focused on to transform the future? Data.
Specifically, individual data. So much data.
Individual biology, health history, well-being, location, spending habits, sleep habits, eating habits….. According to Fortune Magazine, the amount of data you give off every day from things like lab tests, medical imaging genetic profiles, biopsies, electrocardiograms, to name just a few—is completely overwhelming when you start to think about it. Add medical claims, prescriptions, research, clinical trials….and you end up with 750 quadrillion bytes of data every day—or some 30% of the world’s data production. These massive storehouses of information have always been around. However, until three-to-five years ago, all that data was just sitting there. Now it is being analyzed and interpreted. According to Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, “It’s the most radical change happening in health care.”
On this episode we are fortunate to be joined by Dr. Rasu Shrestha, one of the world’s foremost experts that understands this and the additional radical changes and trends that are driving the healthcare future forward.
As consumers continue to take a more active role in managing their health, clinical healthcare and consumer health will converge. As we have discussed many times, this convergence provides a tremendous opportunity for technology to play a role in data-enabled healthcare delivery, while also supporting the shift from hospital care and acute reactive care to more proactive home patient-driven care.
Large global healthcare companies are transforming themselves to deliver new technology and innovation directly to patients to help them manage their health and to support care providers in delivering care effectively.
Philips, strives to make the world healthier and more sustainable through adoption of innovation. Their goal is to improve the lives of 3 billion people a year by 2025. An ambitious global goal, indeed. Philips has been striving to create solutions for a long time. For more than a century, Philips has been driving the development of innovative products and entrepreneurial opportunity. Starting with making electric incandescent light bulbs in 1891.
Over all of this time, Philips has remained fully committed to innovation. Our guest Bill Gaussa sits at the nexus of that commitment. Bill is the Head of Advance Innovation for Philips Healthcare and is located right here in Pittsburgh, PA. He is responsible for delivering diverse solutions (product/services, B2B/B2C) to accelerate growth of the core Philips Business Groups. Bill Leads a team of product managers, engineers, researchers and program managers to bring impactful ideas to first market launch. Recently, Bill was part of the leadership team that launched the Pittsburgh Innovation Center to work in close proximity to hospitals, universities, and start-ups to enable them to incubate regional research partnerships and, ultimately, accelerate their ability to develop new solutions to drive the future of health technology.
When we reflect on the many ways that technology has made our everyday lives easier, more efficient, more interesting, more comfortable and more enjoyable, it is likely difficult to pinpoint one specific thing that each of us would agree is the “most important” discovery of our lifetime. It would be hard to dispute, however, the rationale that the invention of the transistor is one of, if not the most important invention of the 20th century. Merriam Webster defines a transistor as a solid-state electronic device that is used to control the flow of electricity in electronic equipment and usually consists of a small block of a semiconductor with at least three electrodes. The invention of the transistor in 1947 propelled the world in an entirely new direction and was at the center of the global technology boom and began the information age. Because they can be mass-produced by the millions on a sliver of silicon or the semiconductor chip, transistors have fueled the development of many diverse devices like hearing aids, video cameras, cellular phones, copy machines, jumbo jets, modern cars, manufacturing components, and video games….and so much more. Without the invention of the transistor we would have no Internet, no broadcast communication and no space travel.
Today, 10 million transistors can be placed on the head of a pin! Consider this: the typical smartphone contains around 85 billion transistors!
According to Forbes Magazine, in 2014, semiconductor production facilities made some 250 billion billion (250 x 1018) transistors. Every second of that year, on average, 8 trillion transistors were produced. That figure is about 25 times the number of stars in the Milky Way and some 75 times the number of galaxies in the known universe.
We are fortunate to have Dr. Susan Fullerton from the University of Pittsburgh with us. She is working to find alternative materials and device concepts to push our current electronics to become even smaller and require less and less energy to work.
Every now and again as we walk through the journey of life we come across people who we know will have an impact on our trajectory. Whether we are inspired by an innovator, humbled by a leader or angered by an imposter…we know that the energy of the interaction cannot be ignored. Being innovative or disruptive means carving a path out of the long grass. Reflecting on the so-called innovation “Valley of Death” that separates great ideas from their impact on society…harkens recollection about the real Valley of Death. That hot desert in the western united states that separated pioneers from their future. The pioneers, of course, crossed the Valley…Innovators of today could learn a lot by reminding ourselves about how those leaders crossed the Valley of Death…they focused on crossing at the narrowest point…. they loaded just a few wagons with maximal resources, they traveled with friends and they built an infrastructure behind them so that the people behind could follow in their footsteps. Therefore, our hunt for innovative friends with whom we can master serendipity is at the heart of success when developing novel technologies that unlock the future.
Some of the most creative and innovative people that I know have built their careers on a foundation of service to their country. The US military medicine community has pioneered quietly…the savagery of war is inexorably coupled to a yearning to heal. It is no surprise that the discovery and manufacturing of penicillin was driven by necessity in conflict. More recently, devastating wars in the Middle East led to real advances in how to stop blood loss and regenerate tissues. Scarless wound healing, advanced prosthetics, advanced prostrate and ovarian cancer therapeutics and robotic surgery have all been front and center in the war to maintain health. The dedicated community of innovators who orchestrate these advances is rarely recognized...but they should be! Of course, very few people follow a predicted path, especially when building a career on a military medicine foundation. These are people who have had dozens of challenges in remarkable and unique places…and the themes that connect their experiences are simply servant leadership and innovation.
Our guest today, Dr. Christian Macedonia, is typical of the silent innovation warriors that have done so much.
According to the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, “a world infused with new technologies demands courageous, imaginative policy solutions that will both harness technology’s tremendous potential for good and mitigate the displacement effects of rapid change. This is one of the greatest policy challenges of our generation, and one of the biggest gaps in the prospectus across the political spectrum.”
This may seem impossible as we sit in the middle of an America that is bitterly divided. Partisans see people with differing opinions as the enemy. Opposite sides have dug in for an unrelenting winner-takes-all debate to the point of everyone ending up a loser.
Today’s guest, Jason Altmire, has stood at the center of this partisan debate. Literally…exactly in the center. A former three-term member of Congress, Jason Altmire is uniquely qualified to offer solutions to the polarization that has paralyzed Washington. A respected political moderate known for working with both sides of the aisle.
Jason Altmire served in the United States House of Representatives from 2007 to 2013. Because of his ability to bridge both sides of the aisle, Jason had 29 of his legislative initiatives signed into law, went five and a half years without missing a single vote, and introduced a bipartisan bill that gained the most cosponsors of any congressional bill in American history. During his time in office, the nonpartisan National Journal calculated Altmire's voting record to be at the exact midpoint of the House -- the Dead Center -- giving him the most centrist voting record in Congress.
According to the National Institutes of Health, a genome is an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes. Each genome contains all of the information needed to build and maintain that organism. In us, a copy of the entire genome—more than 3 billion DNA base pairs—is contained in all cells that have a nucleus. Each human cell has around 6 feet of DNA. Let's say each human has around 10 trillion cells (this is actually a low ball estimate). This would mean that each person has around 60 trillion feet or around 10 billion miles of DNA inside of them. The Earth is about 93 million miles away from the sun.
And as we head toward 10 billion people on the planet, that is a lot of DNA.
According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, the genomes of any two people are more than 99% the same. That tiny fraction of the genome that varies from person to person is very important. The variations of our DNA are part of what makes each of us distinctive and unique. These variations affect the color of a person’s eyes, hair and skin. Importantly, they also influence a person’s risk of disease and response to medicine. Visionary scientists are unravelling our genetic information so that they can personalize how we are treated. Dr. Dietrich Stephan, our guest on this episode, has been at the forefront of personalized medicine through genetic laser guidance, for decades. He is a human geneticist and entrepreneur. In December 2017, the University of Pittsburgh announced the launch of LifeX™, an initiative that will provide expertise, capital and working space to new companies addressing the most complex challenges facing modern medicine. The organization will be headed by Dietrich Stephan, PhD, Professor and chairman of the Department of Human Genetics. Let’s listen as he shares his views on personalizing medicine to cure disease and keep people well.
Health XL Global Gatherings showcase innovation on a global platform by bringing together people with ideas, resources and desire to contribute to the evolution of healthcare. Health XL brings together the leaders and innovators of the world’s most disruptive technology companies to share stories and insights at small intimate gatherings meant to spark innovation and build meaningful collaboration to solve global healthcare problems. Over the past number of years, Health XL has brought together key players from across the digital health ecosystem from pharma, payers, providers, tech and leading entrepreneurs. 100 of these digital health thought leaders joined our hosts at Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center to discuss AI, big data, precision medicine, consumer empowerment and engagement and wellness. Listen as Alan Russell and Lynn Banaszak conduct “elevator interviews” with some of the attendees and talk about the “what’s next” in healthcare delivery.
There are 100,000 miles of blood vessels in an adult human body! Imagine that…if you stretched out all of someone’s blood vessels end to end they would go around the world three times!! Blood vessels, that we call the vasculature, go everywhere and are involved in issues large and small. They protect the brain, feed tumors and cause the famous brain freeze for those of us who like to eat ice cream!! Any real problem along this vast network can cause severe pain, disability and death.
The most common vascular diseases are stroke, peripheral artery disease (PAD), abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), carotid artery disease (CAD), arteriovenous malformation (AVM), critical limb ischemia (CLI), pulmonary embolism (blood clots), deep vein thrombosis (DVT), chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), and varicose veins. PAD alone affects 8.5 million people. It can occur in anyone at any time; affecting men and women equally.
In this episode, we are very fortunate to have one of the world’s most respected and accomplished vascular researchers. Dr. Mark Gladwin is Chair, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Director of the Pittsburgh Heart, Lung, Blood, and Vascular Medicine Institute (VMI) and Co-director/researcher at the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute (HVI). In addition to our discussion about treating disease with novel technological solutions, Dr. Gladwin will talk about his research and exciting discovery regarding the creation of the only known potential antidote for carbon monoxide poisoning.
Dr. De Grey is a biomedical gerontologist who researched the idea for and founded SENS Research Foundation. SENS Research Foundation is a public charity that is transforming the way the world researches and treats age-related disease.
SENS asserts that two thirds of all deaths worldwide, and about 90% of all deaths in the developed world, are from causes that only rarely kill young adults. If we look at the entire world, then the number of deaths that occur each day is roughly 150,000 and about two-thirds of them are because of aging. These causes include Alzheimer's, cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes and most cancers. They are age-related because they are expressions of the later stages of aging, occurring when the molecular and cellular damage that has accumulated in the body throughout life exceeds the level that metabolism can tolerate.
Before it kills us, aging, imposes on most elderly people, a long period of decline, debilitation and disease. For these reasons, aging is unarguably the most prevalent medically-relevant phenomenon in the modern world and the primary ultimate target of biomedical research.
In this episode, we have the distinct honor and privilege to talk to one of the world’s foremost experts on aging and learn about his assertion that the first human beings who will live to be 1,000 years old have already been born.