AI Genomics. Is this the future of health?

Posted by Mike Walsh

Jan 28, 2021 6:12:09 AM

Jo Bhakdi


What if within the span of the next decade, we could live for an additional ten years or more? A hundred years ago, advances in infection control and public health led to a near doubling of the human life span. For us to achieve a similar feat today, we will need more than just scientific breakthroughs. Despite the rise of AI, powerful computation platforms and new discoveries in genomics, there is still a gap between everyday medical practice and technological innovation.


Jo Bhakdi is the founder and CEO of Quantgene, a biotechnology and data company. In his view, when it comes to medical diagnoses, we are largely reliant on snapshot testing, quick discussions regarding patient symptoms, and the brain power of the practicing physicians.


AI-powered genomics, by contrast, allows us to now turn biology into a data problem, moving at the speed of statistical model development and falling computation costs. Genetic testing has the potential to uncover the root cause of disease and reveal its progression in the body - thus redefining the healthcare paradigm.


One area where this technology has the potential to impact our life expectancy is early stage cancer detection. Many cancers are treatable if caught early enough. While traditional medicine tends to intervene only when a tumor is advanced enough to warrant investigation, Quantgene has developed he capability to detect multiple types of cancer from a simple blood test. By identifying cellular mutations using artificial intelligence analytics and big data, they can unlock where a cancer is encoding itself into the human genome.



In this episode you will learn:


01:28 The unexpected implications of extreme longevity

04:31 Jo's origin story

06:19 Reimagining cancer detection

15:38 Healthcare is a system of broken incentives

30:20 Digital transformation & Big Pharma

35:29 Delivering innovation at scale

43:35 Privacy, rights and personal data


CATEGORY: Healthcare, AI

Hacking Darwin and the future of humanity

Posted by Mike Walsh

Aug 5, 2019 12:27:50 PM

Jamie Metzl 2


Will AI-assisted IVF be the new normal when it comes to having smarter and healthier children? This, and other provocative questions are at the heart of Jamie Metzl’s brilliant new book, ‘Hacking Darwin’, which argues that we are at the dawn of a new genetics revolution. In Jamie’s view, our DNA is becoming as readable, writable, and hackable as our information technology. So what will this mean for humanity as we start to reengineer our own genetic code and radically change our lifespan and capabilities?


CATEGORY: Innovation, Healthcare

Will AI be the end of the radiologist?

Posted by Mike Walsh

Aug 13, 2018 6:54:16 PM

Hugh Harvey


Geoffrey Hinton, one of the world’s most renowned computer scientists has argued that ‘we should stop training radiologists right now’, and that as a result of AI, most would be out of a job within 5 years. But is this really true? Dr Hugh Harvey has a unique perspective on this question, having worked both sides of the fence - both as consultant radiologist, and also as leader in the AI space first at Babylon Health, and currently as the Clinical Lead at Kheiron Medical. Catching up with Hugh in London, I was keen to find out about the impact of algorithms on employment in the healthcare space, and what it might mean to be a radiologist in the 21st century.


CATEGORY: Leadership, Healthcare

The algorithmic healthcare revolution

Posted by Mike Walsh

Jul 30, 2018 10:14:07 AM

Ali Parsa 2


Ali Parsa is a fascinating leader and entrepreneur. Founder of Babylon Health, a company that is working with algorithms and AI to reinvent the healthcare industry, Ali has been both an influential and provocative figure at the intersection of medicine, business and technology. A few years ago, he was an early guest on the Between Worlds podcast. Since then, Babylon has expanded globally to Africa and China - as well as achieving significant advances with their own AI systems. I caught up with Ali again to learn more about his early experiences fleeing Iran as a child, where AI-first healthcare is going next, and what it takes to design successful, algorithmic organizations.


CATEGORY: Leadership, Healthcare

Transforming big pharma

Posted by Mike Walsh

Jun 5, 2018 8:03:02 PM

Adam Raeburn-James_1-1


GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, is in the midst of a fascinating digital transformation. To accelerate their process, they recently created a new chief digital and technology officer role, and brought on the former CIO of Walmart to fill it. They have been active in applying AI to drug discovery and clinical trials, have sought to use inhalers with clip-on sensors to combat asthma, and have deployed their first medical device mobile app. To get some detail on what was going on behind the scenes of their transformation, I spoke with Adam Raeburn-James, SVP End User and Infrastructure Services and Business Service Centers.


CATEGORY: Technology, Healthcare