Rustam Gilfanov: how biomedicine changed the therapy of major diseases in the 21st century

Biotech Health Medical
Rustam Gilfanov

(Spin Digit Editorial):- New York City, New York Jan 26, 2022 ( –  We live in a world of triumphant biomedicine. Its age began in the mid-20th century and continues to this day. Every five years, a new major discovery drives the science forward and brings us closer to victory over diseases that seemed incurable not so long ago. However, sometimes the biomedical approach demonstrates its downside, so our technological endeavors should focus on resolving this issue.

What discoveries were made possible by this approach, and what diseases did it help to defeat? I will tell you about the most significant of them.

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The industry of antibiotics and super antibiotics

Two major focuses of research can be distinguished in the 21st century: AI-assisted search for new antibiotics and detection/elimination of defense mechanisms that bacteria have developed during their accelerated evolution.

The biggest success of the former is the halicin antibiotic that was discovered using the machine learning method: the information on 6,000 various compounds was being “fed” to the AI until it found the molecule with the highest antimicrobial potential. Halicin proved its ability to cope with dozens of serious infections; the only bacterium it could not beat was the highly resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain that causes severe lung infection. Without AI, scientists would have spent years trying to get such a powerful medication.

Stem cells: sensation-2000

As of now, stem cells are used mainly for research rather than for actual therapy. One of the major constraints is ethical — the application of the most promising embryonic cells lies within a deep gray legal and moral zone. Most probably, these issues will be solved by computer technologies; someday, perhaps, we will learn to synthesize building blocks for new organs in VR and culture them in vivo.

Immunotherapy as a cancer treatment type

Immunotherapy is the most progressive and the least invasive cancer treatment technology. It helps to effectively counter even later-stage oncology pathologies while having relatively few side effects.

All immunotherapy methods are owed to laboratory biomedicine; to put it simply, scientists dug their way down to the tiniest details of the intricate mechanisms of the human body and its pathologies, described these details and the processes they take part in, converted this information into digits, and armed themselves with the new knowledge. This is a far cry from therapy methods of the past that shared a holistic approach to the organism. However, when it comes to cancer diseases, this “pinpoint” work turned out to be extremely productive. With computer modeling technologies, we can push even further and try out other ways to activate the immune system — after all, we have just begun to understand and explore this sophisticated element of the human body.

Gene editing and CRISPR-Cas

With the help of CRISPR-Cas9, scientists can make precise in vitro changes to the DNA of any living being — from bacteria to higher mammals, including people. Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna have developed a way to cut, reassemble, and replace fragments of the DNA chain.

What is left to do is figure out what language the information in our DNA is written with and what each gene (including mutated ones) is responsible for. Almost every week, a new article is published in the scientific press that describes the genetic nature of various conditions, pathologies, and attributes — sometimes, dozens of “responsible” genes are involved. This means we can understand only particular words and utterances of the human genome language, yet we are still unable to translate the whole text, let alone write our own.

Biological processes in silico

Even now, we have enough resources to make a complete “human model” in virtual reality. Thanks to the biomedical approach, we have reduced the organism to elements so minuscule that we can digitally recreate them and study biological processes in silico. Developing these models is a costly task that provides relative precision, but this is the most reliable path to take if we want to avoid many obstacles.

“Virtual patients” are already widely used in several disciplines of medical education, but we need to move forward and digitalize every element of the human body, every enzyme and amino acid, to recreate the whole bit by bit and pave the way to infinite opportunities for conducting research, testing medications, and observing various therapy scenarios

Biomedical philosophy: the limits of reductionism

No approach is boundless. Biomedicine, with its treatment of the body as a sum of details and diseases as breakdowns in a complex mechanism, has helped us a lot and will continue to do so.

Biomedicine needs to evolve into ecobiomedicine, i.e., to consider external factors that affect our health and well-being. A disease is not just a malfunction; it is the effect of disrupted communication with the environment.

Perhaps, artificial intelligence can partake in the analysis of patients’ narratives and learn to detect emerging pathologies by life patterns, situations, environmental factors, and stress levels? I want to be optimistic and believe that eventually, we will combine the outstanding biomedical achievements and a greater perspective provided by modern psychology and philosophy. Health is not comprised of numbers and molecular interactions only — yet they can help us get a more profound and precise understanding of various pathologies.

Author of the article

Rustam Gilfanov is a famous IT businessman, a founder of a large IT company, and a partner of the LongeVC Fund.


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This article was originally published by IssueWire. Read the original article here.