Extending and enhancing the healthy, high-performance lifespan and changing the face of aging
HLI could help usher in the most significant reinvention of clinical medicine since the discovery of germ theory and improved hygiene in the late 1800’s. The advent of vaccinations and use of antibiotics, coupled with a simple understanding of basic hygiene and sterilization of medical equipment triggered an increase in life expectancy by more than 29 years, rising from the mid-40s to mid-70s. Sterilization of surgical equipment alone is estimated to have reduced deaths by infection during operations from 60% to 4%.
The last 150 years have seen remarkable medical advances in treatments and diagnostic tools such as serologic testing, tissue culture and the use of molecular biology in a variety of clinical and medical applications. And yet the underlying operating system of medical discovery, diagnostics and treatment remains fundamentally challenged, limiting our ability to make breakthroughs. Contributing to the problem are the underlying deficiencies of medical research, career path design, funding constraints, publication culture and bad data. An article in 2014 revealed that between 75% and 90% of trials are unreproducible, and a 2011 paper suggested that at least 50% of published studies, even those in top-tier academic journals, can’t be repeated by an industrial lab with the same conclusions.
It’s no surprise that drug discovery is near alchemy.
HLI’s bold hypothesis: By building the world’s largest database of integrated health information (including whole genomes, microbiome, and metabiome, along with phenotypic data, etc.) and then applying advanced machine-learning informatics, they’ll create new intellectual scaffolding to guide medical discovery to individualized diagnosis and preventive treatments.
Possible insights include a more complete understanding of the genome, pathways that are responsible for a variety of diseases such as cancer which contribute to shortened life spans and decrease quality of life, and biomarkers and the intertwined complexities of our biological systems.
In short, HLI has taken aim at the single highest correlating variable to disease—aging—which lives upstream from the vast majority of all human ailments.
It’s deeply inspiring to be building the tools that enable us to apply the insanely powerful technology of biology to address new applications.
The greatest breakthroughs in history have come about when the right people, tools and technology have converged. HLI has all three: world renowned scientist Craig Venter leading the team; cost effective and efficient tools to sequence genomes, and advances in data processing, storage and new machine learning capabilities.