Why does quantum technology hold so much promise for health care? In part, it’s because many cell processes take place at the nanoscale--the world of atoms and subatomic particles. When you get down to the nanoscale, matter stops behaving according to the laws of classical physics and starts demonstrating the unique (and often counter-intuitive) properties of quantum mechanics.
Using the unusual properties of quantum mechanics, the scientists at the conference (and others from around the world) are building medical tools, diagnostics, and treatments that are both ultra-precise and ultra-personalized--tools that will ultimately prolong and improve our lives. Here are just a few of the most promising breakthroughs on the horizon.
1: IMPROVED DISEASE SCREENING AND TREATMENT
Using a relatively new method known as the bio-barcode assay, scientists can now detect disease-specific clues, or “biomarkers,” in our blood using gold nanoparticles, which are visible using MRI technology and have unique quantum properties that allow them to attach to disease-fighting cells. These gold nanoparticles are completely safe for human use. This method is also cheaper, more flexible, and more accurate than conventional alternatives.
Researchers at the University of York have designed a patch that can be applied to skin in order to deliver targeted therapies sans hypodermic needles. The patch, called Nanject, will be used to deliver cancer drugs without harming healthy cells.
3: HACKING HUMAN BIOLOGY
Beyond improved disease screening and highly targeted, needle-free treatments, quantum mechanics holds the potential to provide us with more information about human biology.
4: MORE SECURE HEALTH DATA
People want to protect their health data for obvious reasons, so it's important to consider all the ways that it can be hacked. In the future, for example, it may become possible for hackers to retroactively intercept communications.