Science is making small steps every single day, only most of them are too small or don’t get published to the public that fast. So here are a few I’ve noticed:
4$ Phone in India! or is it..?
Recently, all records for smartphone prices were broken, when the indian government declared a subsidized new offering – a 4 core, Android 5 smartphone for a mere 251 Indian Rupees! That’s about 4 USD. It made sense to.. no one, since the manufacturing costs themselves are not covered with such a ridiculous price. But as the purchase page came online, and orders were accepted, and finally also delivered (to indian residents only) – it definitely appeared to be more than a scam, with an actual working phone. So what’s the catch? So far it seems that this is a re-labeled/re-branded chinese phone that goes by the name: “Adcom Ikon 4″. That phone is usually sold for a much higher price. Even in India it costs 14.3 times as much.. The saga continues as Adcom keeps denying that this is their own phone, only re-labeled. It’s pretty understandable considering the damage their brand will suffer when people understand they can but their (already cheap) phone for a fragment of its price.
Modified T-Cells to help the immune system fight cancer
Cancer is the plague of this planet for hundreds of years (if not longer). The amount of money and human effort being poured into the fight against the many variations of this terrible malady is staggering. And now we seem to have gotten a new weapon to that arsenal.
Until now, the most common treatment against cancer was radiation and chemotherapy which acted as a shotgun against the disease – killing both the cancer cells and healthy cells in hopes of killing more of the sick cells than the healthy ones before the body gives up.
Here’s a quote from a BBC article about this exciting new development:
Prof Riddell told the BBC: “Essentially what this process does is, it genetically reprograms the T-cell to seek out and recognise and destroy the patient’s tumour cells.
“[The patients] were really at the end of the line in terms of treatment options and yet a single dose of this therapy put more than ninety percent of these patients in complete remission where we can’t detect any of these leukaemia cells.”
What about living longer? or forever?
More and more people around the world are living beyond 100 years. This would be considered science fiction less than a 100 years ago, but now it’s much more common. Modern medicine coupled with the better nutrition of modern society helped us get to this stage, but are now facing a much bigger challenge: how to keep that aging population in good health and even keep the most vulnerable organ of all in good operating condition – the brain.
The new “rock stars” of this generation – the heads of the big technological companies are showing great interest in solving these massive riddles – most probably to benefit themselves or their off-springs, but in a effort that will benefit (hopefully) the entire human kind.
For instance, Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder donated 50 Million dollars to help fight old-age diseases (such as Parkinson’s), after a genetic test found that he was at risk of developing the illness. Paypal’s co-founder and tech luminary Peter Thiel has donated 6 Million dollars to the Sens Foundation, which is researching longevity, saying his approach to death is “to fight it.”
Several organizations and many scientists are working on different approaches to fight geriatric diseases and revitalize aging and even dying human tissue. Will they succeed? Will we see humans living longer than ever before? Maybe. But either way, their efforts are bound to improve our lives as they are working on solutions that will help conventional medicine immensely over the coming years.