8 web page article that tracks the history, hurdles and promise of gene therapy from decades past to the slow steady progress of today
Several areas of progress are converging to realize the dream of control of our genes and bodies proteins.
1. Better microscopic and nanoscale tools for imaging and tracking what is happening at the cellular and molecular level in real time. This helps us to understand what is really happening at the scales where activity is occuring. More and more analysis that used to take weeks is now happening in a minute or less.
2. More and cheaper computing power to analyze and model all of that nanoscale information.
3. Gene synthesis and sequencing of human genomes and of the genomes of microbes and animals for costs that are approaching $1000 for 3 billion bases.
4. New techniques such as RNA activation and refinement of RNA interference and gene therapy. The creation of multiple options for gene therapy to use different viral and new synthetic containers to deliver the genetic material. The better sensors can then track the delivery of drugs and genetic material within the body.
Combined it can mean in over the next 30 years we will have stunning progress in conquering disease and improving human performance.
There are 10 to 100 trillion cells in the human body Around 2025, several thousand personal thousand petaflop computers combined with supersensors could track and moderate the activity of all cells, genes, proteins, viruses, chemicals and bacteria in and around each person.
If we are clever about it we can get most of the benefits far sooner than waiting for a brute force approach of massive calculation and sensors. A lot of the activity is not important. We can get by with a lot less by identifying or controlling the important activity.
The areas which I think are most promising are the supercharge our immune system and regenerative processes.