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November 09, 2007

Proposal for widespread monitoring and tracking of biomarkers and environmental factors for medical understanding

Andy Grove has criticized how the pharmaceutical industry operates and performs research.

What I would really like to do is to contact Andy Grove and suggest that he use his semiconductor knowledge to help a company release a lot of inexpensive and capable lab on a chip testing systems to track biomarkers.

Labs on a chip that could track biomarkers daily or hourly and eventually in realtime. Initially they could be used for large clinical trials and other studies. Like how TV ratings boxes are used to track television viewing. The biomarker trackers could also be part of his healthplan by getting them to all pharmacies and clinics and doctors offices. We should have blood testing for cancer detection as well as for disease detection and tracking and monitoring effects of medication.

this is a variation on tracking one's entire life experiences on a hard drive. It would be using sensors to track lifetimes of health related activity as it happens. Diabetics already track calories consumed and take blood tests of sugar levels. I am proposing going beyond that to thousands of biomarkers and monitoring of all intake into the body and activity. This would allow vastly superior data mining and advance the effort towards truly personalized medicine.

Eventually everyone would have real time tracking of health and environmental factors that they encounter.

the semiconductor focused approach that I am suggesting would transform both the research of disease and health and the monitoring and detection of disease.

Currently doctors and researchers do not get a constant close look at what is happening with individuals.

the monitoring of biomarkers would need to be combined with some basic environmental monitoring (cigarretes, air pollution etc...) and monitoring of substances (food, alcohol, drugs etc...)

Currently the monitoring of health greatly lags the monitoring of TV, shopping habits and online activity.

For online activity, companies perform studies with "heat maps" of words and where people are looking in an ad. Near real time.

For health, blood and other testing is inconsistent even when someone is at high risk for a disease.

For drugs, the prescription is based on statistical samples. It is like : I recommend the TV show Golden Girls because a study that we performed of people in your age group suggests that it would be beneficial. We can do a check up after a few months and see how that is going. Let us know if you have an adverse reaction, such as vomiting but otherwise stick to the prescription. If it does not work we will switch in a few months to 60 minutes and then the Tonight Show.

If we are able to have large scale tracking of kidney function, heart function, lung function, arterial health, blood levels, other biomarkers etc... then we can start making the connections to overall wear on the system and when something is deteriorating.

We are able to identify abnormal wear on parts in car. But well before some one is about to become diabetic there are things going on that are leading up to that point. We need to trace back to the health equivalent of - you have misalignment and the tires still look great but the alignment problem will cause abnormal wear.

If we have all of the data then when something starts falling out for a population then the doctor/researcher can start making the correlation earlier. Appliance and car companies data mine and analyze customer service call transcripts and make the correlations. 20 calls talked about shorting or smoke. This means there was an electrical issue. If we track the factory dates we determine that they all were coming from a particular production line 8 years ago on Mondays in the second quarter. We will need to check all other appliances with that profile for a common assembly line and production issue.

There are weingard statistical operations management tracking rules to identify developing bad trends earlier.

We have pro-active methods for identifying problems with appliances and cars but we do not have shared information for medicine and health.

2 comments:

Websinger said...

Have you contacted Andy Grove? If so, what was the response. I very much like your comments. We may be moving in that direction in any case, but advancing the rate of progress is a great idea.

bw said...

I have not been able to contact Andy Grove. I am posting this around so that hopefully he (or anyone else who likes the idea) will see it and consider it and look at pursuing it.