effective + individual
Will we ever have a disease-free world?
The life sciences will have a decisive influence on society in the 21st century. Fundamental new insights will open up hitherto inconceivable possibilities for tracking down the triggers of disease and developing new treatments.
The causes of numerous diseases are now known. However, our health still faces threats that continue to claim millions of human lives year after year due to their complexity or ability to adapt and mutate. These include infectious diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS, as well as chronic and complex illnesses like diabetes, heart-lung disorders and cancer. Depression and Alzheimer’s are also increasing due to the fast pace of life and change in the population age structure.
Genome research is heralding a new age in medicine. Our own genes hold the key to the illnesses that await us in the future. Thanks to the decoding of the human genome, more and more genetic mutations will be discovered and methods developed for the direct treatment of our genetic material. New procedures will be developed for finding these genes, influencing them and even removing them from the genotype.
Thanks to intensive research, the range of technologies available for use in clinical diagnostics, operative interventions and the production of individual replacement tissues and body parts continues to grow.
The medical technology of tomorrow is not limited to innovative devices that recognise individual cancer cells in the body or reproduce the progress of an operation live on a display for the surgeon. If, in future, a replacement tooth or even a new heart is needed, tissues generated using medical-biological technology and intelligent prostheses based on the latest technology would be able to contribute to restoring health and vitality.
However, in addition to all of these opportunities, we must also learn to approach the future potential of medicine responsibly and with fairness.