Baby boomers are getting old.
The first wave — about 2.4 million of them — turned 70 last year.
The generation that turned popular culture and societal norms upside down now faces the rigours of growing old and facing life-and-death decisions.
With increasing frequency, they’re entering a state of declining health while — courtesy of Big Pharma — they’re able to live longer by reaching for a pill or hooking up to a machine.
And Big Pharma is exactly who is profiting from this ageing generation.
Take hepatitis C, for example. It destroys the liver. And the pace at which it’s infecting more and more of us around the world — especially America’s baby boomers — is growing rapidly (the rate of infection in the US grew by more than 150% from 2010–2013.)
There’s little in the way of treatment for those suffering from this disease.
A drug called Harvoni can manage symptoms…at a cost of $1,100 for every pill! And not without a host of side-effects.
Or you could get on the list of people waiting for a liver transplant and hope that a matching donor dies before you do. You then face the risk that your body will reject the foreign organ.
But the risk and red tape behind treating the diseases that plague our ageing society is about to become a thing of the past…and you could be the one to profit instead of Big Pharma.
That’s because medical researchers are doing a lot of gardening these days…
…But they ain’t growing tomatoes in this garden.
Advancements in Medical Technology
Imagine it: Your doctor takes a few cells from your body and uses them to grow you a new liver. Or a new heart. Or new lungs. In a petri dish. In a lab hundreds of miles away.
It’s like jumping in a genetic time-machine. The parts that failed you are renewed and refreshed. You feel young again.
It’s happening. New organs are sprouting in medical labs around the world. No waiting, no risk of rejection, no more disease.
Researchers are working with ‘organoids’ — small sections of human organs that germinate in lab dishes. The purpose: learn how organs grow, how disease develops and progresses, and test treatments on actual human organs without endangering human subjects.
It’s a result of advancements in bioengineering. And the range of diseases and chronic conditions that can be treated as a result of these advances is nearly without limit.
Scientists from California to Japan are working with stem cells to coax them into new lungs, livers — even brain tissue. All in the hopes that one day in the near future, we can better understand how to treat diseases from pulmonary fibrosis to Parkinson’s.
Eventually, scientists expect to be able to regrow new organs for individuals from a person’s own cells and then swap out the spent organ for the new.
There’d be no hunt for a donor, no danger of organ rejection.
This trend is revolutionary and life-changing.
The ability to cure disease using our own raw materials and to replace failed organs with no threat of rejection will significantly lengthen humans’ health span over the next several decades.
Genetic engineering and the ability to grow new organs outside the body will challenge, and eventually change, our definition of life itself.
In this still-new frontier, the biological and engineering sciences have synergised.
That sets the stage for business models from Big Pharma, the medical-industrial complex and the medical equipment industry to bring new pioneering treatment and product services to market quickly.
This new era of regenerative medicine is going to be a huge market. It’s not only going to prolong your life — it could make you a profit.
Until next time,
For Markets and Money, Australia