In the last 60 years, the life expectancy of the average newborn has increased by almost 20 years – from 52.5 to 72, 2018. We have seen an incredible wave of technological innovation at this time: the Internet, the introduction of medicine, the advancement of public health initiatives and improved understanding have changed the course of human life. And with new technologies like blockchain and artificial intelligence now emerging on the stage, we know that more radical transformations are coming. These disruptive technologies are paving the way for both long and healthy lifestyles.
To show you how much healthcare has improved for this technology, I would like to highlight a case study of two unique companies, Insilico Medicine and Longgenesis. Together, they show how the development of AI for medical services has increased with the advent of blockchain healthcare applications.
Data driven healthcare
In 2014, longevity inventor Alex Zavorankov and their company, Insilico Medicine, reached out to me. The company was built on a simple but basic premise: accelerating drug discovery and development using AI. At the time, the use of AI was still new, both in terms of public awareness and its application in medicine. But in the seven years I have invested in this company, it has used AI to completely transform research and development in the therapeutics sector. Its rapid discovery and development of new therapies comes from the incredible amount of data in the search process for the next best cure. Rich in sources and opportunities, this information comes from the genomic and proteomic sequences of actual healthcare patients. Through dozens of new drug candidates, they have shown tremendous potential in using AI for data-driven healthcare.
However, groundbreaking progress by Insilico was not without hindrance. Working with huge amounts of data presents unique challenges regarding centralization and security. Data is spread in healthcare. Every doctor, medical center and hospital maintains its silo and because of privacy rules, data is usually shared only when it is needed for patient care. Access to the synthesized patient data was critical for Insilico’s AI algorithm to be successful and it was not available.
Privacy and blockchain technology
To find solutions to security and centralization concerns related to this type of data, Alex and Insilico Medicine’s team soon discovered blockchain and distributed laser technology. The unchanging nature of the entries in the blockchain and the ability to contribute data to the account of sharing multiple decentralized nodes solves complex problems related to patient data. This technology was what they were looking for, but they needed a partner to create it with. Insilico formed a joint venture with Europe’s leading blockchain company BitFury (currently one of the largest emerging technology companies on the continent) and launched a new company called LongGenesis. Longgenesis’s goal was clear: to create a blockchain healthcare ecosystem that takes into account the sensitive needs of health data and the need to apply biotech research.
Related: Concerns about data privacy are growing, and blockchain is the solution
Longenesis has designed a blockchain-based environment for stakeholders across the healthcare / biotech industry, including patient organizations, biomedical research groups, and research partners and sponsors. The beauty of resolving longgeneration is that there is always a record of consent. When patients agree to share their data for any purpose, there is irrevocable proof of their consent.
Its first products, curators, hospitals and other care agencies use to present the data available to researchers safely and with consent without compromising patients’ privacy. This function gives researchers the ability to review datasets without compromising the security of patient information. When a researcher or company is interested in using the data, Engage, the second product of Longenesis, provides it. Engage Hospitals and researchers quickly allow patients for new medical trials and research, recording ongoing patient consent. Regardless of whether AI is being used to analyze new data from medical trials or “old” data from medical records, patients know about it and can decide to consent for their convenience. Longenesis has installed this solution in state hospitals, government biobanks and more. Its work gives AI companies like Insilico Medicine the ability to access large amounts of data that can be used for artificial intelligence analysis, leading to more therapies and drug discovery.
Data, blockchain and human longevity
Although I have highlighted two companies here, there are thousands of remarkable startups, research institutes and physicians working tirelessly to improve people’s lives. They can all benefit from blockchain-unlocked data and the ability to analyze artificial intelligence.
The average hospital generates 760 terabytes of data annually, yet 80% of this valuable information is infrastructural and unavailable to researchers. It needs to be safe, and patients must provide ongoing consent for its use. This disconnection has stalled progress in each of the six cases. The pairing of blockchain and AI can unlock this data for analysis, facilitate patient consent, track the use of clinical data and much more.
Without blockchain, artificial intelligence lacks ethically sourced and secure biomedical data that new solutions need to be found. Without artificial intelligence, huge amounts of data protected by blockchain are protected but not usable for research. Progress occurs when these innovations work together, just as the critical public health initiatives of the last decade are thanks to the advent of the World Wide Web. Then, our goal should be to bring these technologies to market more fully so that longevity-centered care is accessible to all.
The opinions, thoughts and opinions expressed herein are the sole property of the author and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
Garri Zmudze He is a managing partner of Switzerland and Cyprus-based venture capital firm LongVC, accelerating innovative startups in biotech and longevity. He is an experienced businessman and angel investor who has made several successful exits to biotech and technology companies. He is a longtime supporter and investor in biotech companies including Insilico Medicine, Deep Longevity and Bespaw.
Author’s note: Insilico Medicine and LongGenesis are both portfolio companies of our long-lived VC firm LongVC.