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Google announces health research venture

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September 19, 2013

'With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe w...

'With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives,' says

Never one to shy away from big challenges, Google has announced the formation of a new company aimed at tackling major health and wellbeing issues with a "particular focus on aging and associated diseases."

Going by the name Calico, the new company will be headed by Chairman of Apple and Genentech, Arthur D. Levinson, a move which suggests a renewed spirit of collaboration between two of the biggest and best known names in technology.

There are no further details at this early stage on the company structure, exactly what diseases it plans to target or whether it would work with existing institutions in the health research field.

“Illness and aging affect all our families," says Google CEO Larry Page. "With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives. It’s impossible to imagine anyone better than Art—one of the leading scientists, entrepreneurs and CEOs of our generation—to take this new venture forward.”

Definitely one for the "watch this space" basket.

Source: Google

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8 Comments

It is great that somebody other than Pharmaceutical and purely "For Profit" health industry members are pursuing advancing knowledge and advances in these issues.

For the current health industry, curing a disease means losing billions of dollars in research grants, drug research, clinical trials, etc. Once it's cured, their income goes down. It may sound draconian but I absolutely believe the health care industry does not WANT to find cures for Cancer, Alzheimers, MS, etc, etc, . Sure, a few small advances from time to time to keep our interest and keep the pressure on congress and philanthropists to keep giving money.

sailr
19th September, 2013 @ 09:30 am PDT

I concur with sailr and would like to add more.

As a pharmacist actively serving for over 30 years, I don't see pharmaceutical care being rocket science. Recent years see no advancement but A&M in giant pharmaceuticals, pushing out me-too products and fusion "brands", cheating not only the frail elderly, the general public but also many healthcare professionals. Clinical trials fail to reveal long term toxicity, and is against the basic principle of genetic and racial difference, yet marketing worldwide. Recalls and withdraws occur monthly, if not weekly, due to advance in pharmacovigilence and tightened random testing. Genetic medicine may be promising but yet too expensive for the great majority of patients, not to mention it will aggregate existing vested interest in a small sector of people.

The problem mentioned by sailr is rather like the case of electric vehicles creeps in very very slowly to replace petrol ones.

I'd say putting the hope investing billions into investing new drugs for the aging diseases is a good thinking, let's not forget the UNNECESSARY challenges our frail elderly and their carers are facing lies in POLYPHARMACY causing drug-related iatrogenic diseases.

We already DO NOT have enough well trained healthcare people to work in undesirable environment caring for the elderly, and the percentage of "carer / elderly" diminishes exponentially over time.

Let's look at giving our elderly a better quality of life, let them live their late years with dignity, and give our carers a chance to serve better in the skill they are trained.

We have no time to wait for years of research to find a solution to the problem; simply by wisely redistributing our resources in the right area will save the frail elderly from unnecessary health deterioration.

IT can help make a huge positive difference in care, why not invest in this and make things as simple and as efficient as it could and as it should.

PS

PeterSuen
19th September, 2013 @ 11:01 am PDT

I'm 64 as of this week, can't remember the last time I went to a doctor(perhaps 30 years-for nothing in particular?). Have NEVER taken ANY drug of any kind. I take a few vitas and minerals every day with some aspirin. Most of my age friends do ANYTHING a doctor says( I can visually see them weaken, along more and more). I was accepted to Med school, and remember just how NOT smart some of those guys were as we studied together in undergrad. I went on to engineering school and they are doctors that I have never went to. Know your own body, stay away from doctors and hospitals unless ABSOLUTELY necessary--Quit Not Thinking. I figure common sense will add an extra 15-20 years to your life.

Jimbo Cash Jones
19th September, 2013 @ 01:16 pm PDT

As a care administrator who has worked for 33 years in Christian elderly care organizations, I believe that technology can help serve the elderly. With the coming of the Age Tsunami and diminishing care giver to elderly numbers, people who care need all the tools available. I look forward to this and other organizations/people who can help serve this great segment of population. I agree with Peter Suen above with his very thoughtful comments.

mbonello
19th September, 2013 @ 02:36 pm PDT

Jimbo's distrust of doctors and trust in his judgement has obviously served him well. I am 71 and have seldom been served by the medical profession. I dodged a bullet when I canceled an operation (2009) which would have left me permanently disabled. I did an internet search and was shocked at the lack of info I was given by the doctors. I could only surmise I was being used as a cash cow. I have solved my medical problem without invasive surgery or doctors. Doctors have a license to kill and mutilate for profit. I witnessed my father undergo an expensive, extremely invasive six-way bypass which failed. I later learned this procedure does not extend life. I listened as they "sold" him the procedure. The nurses and doctors ganged up to fabricate a story. I later learned this is a common practice.

I welcome an independent research project which will explore alternatives to the institutional malpractice that passes for healthcare.

Don Duncan
19th September, 2013 @ 03:29 pm PDT

Don and Jimbo,

You are both SPOT ON.

I am also 71, and take coq10 for circuation, L-caritine, garlic, and a good multi every day.

Now if you ever want to start a brawl in the lobby of a cardiac "specialist" hozpital, just mention the words...CHELATION THERAPY.

hummer boy
20th September, 2013 @ 09:34 am PDT

There are two main ways in gerontology. First one, to save the lives of people still living. Second, to create human longevity. The second way I do not know. But the first one is simple: we should to revive the young function and structures the vital organ that to 70-90 years has worn down to a critical state, after which comes the death of the organism. It is our skin, the shell of the body, its lungs, kidneys and external brain, nervous, endocrine, circulatory system, etc. More Ashley Montagu pointed out the importance of this organ. By its 70-90 years, it performs much wear and 15-20% of its functions. Hence, the diseases of internal organs, which strongly depend on it, hence the death of the organism.

Is it possible to restore young structures and functions of old skin? It is. Skin as muscles, bones derived from stem cells, and can develop. But nobody does this. Or does wrong. It is matter of technique. Updated, hardened skin, this largest organ, will allow organism stay young and live without time constraints. There are no genes or programs of aging in the body. The human genome is transcribed. Why not check it? This can be done today. It is not expensive, but it will bring huge amount of money. I wish you all good health and to stay young. Our aging and death is the result of misunderstanding the nature of this phenomenon by gerontologists.

Valery Chuprin, Mr.

Valery Chuprin, William Mihajlovic, Three layer functional model and energy exchange concept of aging process, AGE Magazine, Springer 2006, 28:111–121 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2464718/pdf/11357_2005_Article_4258.pdf

Valery Chuprin
20th September, 2013 @ 10:19 am PDT

To Jimbo Cash Jones, Don Duncan and hummer boy: I don't know for certain where you live, but it seems likely to me that you're all in the US? If so, then right there is the reason for your mistrust. I spent a decade living there and was royally ripped off right, left and centre by physicians, surgeons and anaesthetists. In my opinion, you guys have a stonking great problem in that your medical profession is out of control and out for whatever they can get. Money rules there, doesn't it? And nothing else matters.

However, things are different in other parts of the world. YMMV always, of course, but FWIW I honestly think that most doctors--of all specialities--in the UK and Spain (I haven't lived anywhere else) actually care to do the best they can for their patients. But again, as the British NHS goes through the process of privatisation--monetization by another name--it will deteriorate until it resembles the US.

Pharmaceutical companies are something else again. Big money, big lies, big frauds. In healthcare as in sport as in everything else: money in, every other consideration out.

dalroth5
21st September, 2013 @ 01:01 pm PDT
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