Future Human: Body Hacking, Wednesday September 19
Future Human returns to The Book Club on Wednesday September 19 for yet more intellectual exotica and imaginatively monikered cocktails. At Body Hacking we’ll discover how scientific subcultures are personalising medicine and enhancing human biology. You can buy advance tickets from our online store page – our August salon was a sellout, so be sure to book your place in advance.
Cutting edge medical technology is growing increasingly cheap and accessible, a trend that has led to the emergence of a number of ‘improvised’ scientific movements and communities around the world. The falling cost of genome sequencing, for example, in which our DNA is digitally profiled, suggests the existing ‘one size fits all’ approach to medical diagnosis and treatment could soon be consigned to the past.
However, some of the greatest breakthroughs in this sphere aren’t coming from the traditional public or private sector players, but from a nascent DIY ‘biohacking’ movement. Ad hoc communities of science enthusiasts, such as Genspace in New York and London Hackspace in the UK organise online to share lab facilities and collaborate on cutting edge biotech initiatives. Small but dynamic, these scientific subcultures are producing astonishing innovations. From pocket-sized kits that sample human DNA, microchip implants that keep tabs on our internal organs, blood sugar levels or moods, and even 3D printers that produce tailored hip replacements, the medical innovations of the ‘body hacking’ movement are beginning to filter into mainstream use.
Yet should we not be concerned that private companies will increasingly be able to access our detailed genetic data? Might this information be used against us somehow? And can the global biohacking movement genuinely unsettle the dominance of the corporate pharmaceutical giants.
We have a cracking panel of medical innovators at Body Hacking, who will address these critical questions and others:
Elizabeth Foot is the CEO of London Genetics, , a company that focuses on personalised genetic approaches to the treatment of disease, partnering with and advising research laboratories, biotech firms and pharmaceutical companies. For 16 years prior to London Genetics, Elizabeth worked at GlaxoSmithKline, on treatments targeting diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
Stephen Little is Vice President of Personalised Medicine at medical technology firm QIAGEN, who create ways of isolating and analysing DNA to better tailor treatments to the individual. He worked in research and development at AstraZeneca, before founding the personalised medicine startup DxS in 2001; it was bought by QIAGEN in 2009 for £80 million.
Mark Warne is head of Life Sciences at IPGroup, a venture capital firm who are funding some of the UK’s most exciting medical startups. Mark has helped nurture companies like Oxford Nanopore, who develop mobile USB DNA testing; Mode Diagnostics, who are developing over-the-counter cancer detection kits; and Optimal Medicine, who create mobile applications that disseminate mental health therapies.
In classic Future Human fashion, you’ll be able to quiz them on the future of personal healthcare, share thoughts on our chaotic big-screen Twitter feed, and experience the eye-opening presentations and interactive discussions that have elicited goggle-eyed murmurs from the worker bees at Grazia, Time Out and The Sunday Times amongst other media mavens.
So join us as we examine how a major DIY movement in medicine is revolutionising conventional ideas of healthcare and enhancing the potential of the human body. Once again, tickets are available here – we hope you can make it along!