Last week I arrived in Moscow from one of best and most inspiring conferences in the world – TEDMED. I’d love to share some pictures and exiting ideas I learned during those fascinating four days in San Diego. So, here we go.
It all started with a beautiful aria sang by Charity Tillemann-Dick, a soprano who had a double lung transplantation. And afterwards Martha Stewart among several other guests touched the pig lungs brought up on stage by Dr. Shaf Keshavjee in a mashine that’s used to get the lungs prepared before the transplantation. The physiological functions are closely monitored and there’s a possibility to apply cell therapy to the lungs if needed.
David Blaine, a renowned magician, ate glasses and a string that came from underneath his skin. Not exactly the type of diet that I’d recommend. A great diet was proposed by Ray Cronise, well, a way to loose weight, actually, by chilling the body.
Emlyn Koster, CEO of Liberty Science Center, ‘took’ the audience to an OR during a heart bypass surgery via an online transmission. That’s one of the examples of his educational programs for kids.
Walt Mossberg, a Wall Street Jounal columnist, expert on gadgets and founder of D: All things Digital conference, complained that one of the most necessary gadgets for him – a glucose meter – is totally ancient in terms of technology.
Danny Hillis, Professor at the Keck School of Medicine of USC expained how the new USC center will create a set of “virtual cancer” models based on measurements from individual cancer patients. The models then would be used to simulate cancer growth and predict drug responses for each patient.
In this one Richard Saul Wurman, founder of TED conferences and co-founder of TEDMED, is closely listening to Aubrey de Grey, SENS Foundation CSO, and Anthony Atala, Director of Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Dr. Atala showed a special bioreactor for growing engineered skin. This bioreactor ‘trains’ the skin to stretch in 2 dimentions. That’s necessary for the graft to obtain the crucial physiological properties.
And Dr. Aubrey de Grey shared an outstanding news about the collaboration between the SENS Foundation and the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine on two projects (in blue) – rejuvenating thymus and extracellular matrix.
I truly hope the announced collaboration would make us closer to the dream – the lifespan of the Turritopsis Nutricula Jellyfish, which is infinite. Slides showing life spans of different long-lived species were demonstrated thoughout the conference. I hope they made some people in the audience think about the problem of human longevity.
However, some of the presentations praised death, like this one by Sekou Andrews and Steve Connell, spoken word artists, who basically said that we all are going to die and there’s nothing we can do about it. I strongly disagree. There are so many things that we can do now. Starting with self-education on the topic of longevity, leading better life styles, taking the personalized medicine approach, and ending with doing more research in the biology of aging and advocating for longevity.
During the breaks, attendees had a chance to participate in exciting activities, like taking medical tests at the CVS booth, providing saliva samples to the 23andme team members for DNA testing and sharing some bold ideas to transform medical care, an initiative by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Here you can read the idea from Daniel Kraft, a bright researcher at the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, which is: “connect all data, allow medical data at all levels to be interconnected + crowd sourced.”
One of the main focuses at TEDMED was personalized medicine, and personalized genomics in particular. Here you can see Greg Lucier, CEO of Life Technologies, presenting the all new 5500xl SOLiD Sequencer, which is able to process two human genomes in a single run that allows the reduction of DNA sequencing cost down to as little as $3,000. I personally can’t wait for the price to fall down to $1,000, that’s when the ‘Genome Era’ would start.
But some people have already had their DNA sequenced. Here Marc Hodosh, the host, co-founder of TEDMED, is discussing the findings from the sequenced genome of musician Ozzy Osbourne with him and his lovely wife, Sharon Osbourne. I am going to describe the findings in a separate post later.
Lunches outside on the lawn produced lots of exciting conversations.
Deserts were delicious.
Breaks were productive.
The venue was gorgeous.
TEDMEd 2010 was awesome.