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Manufacture Business Practice, Technology and Equipment, Trends & Forecasts

One Century On

Speculating about the future makes for fascinating conversation. And because we all want to live long and healthy lives – and want the same for our loved ones – we are probably unified in the hope for a future where the risk of death by disease is very much reduced.

New medicines are emerging all the time, but although many improve the quality and length of life, far fewer offer complete cures. Some in the industry hope that gene and cell therapies will revolutionize medicine, but it’s perhaps too early to tell.

Others envision the future of medicine going far beyond curing disease. At a recent event, a scientist confessed that he’d had a conversation with other delegates about how to prevent the aging process. It sounds like science fiction, but a number of studies are underway (1)(2)(3). And it wouldn’t be the first time that science fiction has accurately predicted the future. In Aldous Huxley’s 1932 novel Brave New World, the citizens of London are kept sane with mood-altering medicine; anti-depressants became the subject of experimentation in the 1950s...

Earlier this year, Kaleidoscope Health & Care launched a global competition for short science fiction stories about healthcare in the year 2100. The aim? To generate new creative thinking around healthcare. “In a world where five years counts as long-term, we need to think differently. Thinking about the real long-term in health is exceptionally limited – this means governments and the NHS are flying blind as to where we’re headed,” states the competition home page (4). 

To some extent, we can predict the near future – but as the writer William Gibson once said, “the future is not Google-able.” And one hundred years from now, we can at least predict that the world will be very different. As Kaleidoscope’s competition page notes, “Some 83 years ago, child mortality was high, hunger was rife, and the NHS non-existent. Yet within 40 years, babies were being born with the help of test tubes, and 40 years later, the human genome had been mapped, and more people were eating too much than too little.”

As a fan of science fiction, I’m looking forward to reading the winning entries. But in the meantime, I’d be curious to hear your “shots in the dark” about the long-term future of healthcare, advanced medicine, and the pharma industry: [email protected]

Stephanie Sutton

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  1. Scientific American, “Aging Is Reversible—at Least in Human Cells and Live Mice,” (2016). Available at:
  2. Last accessed: July 24, 2017.
  3. K Hanoki, “Preventing aging with stem cell rejuvenation: Feasible or infeasible?,” World J. Stem Cells, 9, 1-8 (2017).
  4. N Guidi et al., “Osteopontin attenuates aging‐associated phenotypes of hematopoietic stem cells,” The EMBO Journal, 36, 840-853 (2017).
  5. Kaleidoscope Health & Care, “Writing the Future,” (2017). Available at: Last accessed: July 24, 2017.
About the Author
Stephanie Vine

Making great scientific magazines isn’t just about delivering knowledge and high quality content; it’s also about packaging these in the right words to ensure that someone is truly inspired by a topic. My passion is ensuring that our authors’ expertise is presented as a seamless and enjoyable reading experience, whether in print, in digital or on social media. I’ve spent fourteen years writing and editing features for scientific and manufacturing publications, and in making this content engaging and accessible without sacrificing its scientific integrity. There is nothing better than a magazine with great content that feels great to read.

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