Healthcare is entering a “biomedical revolution” and medicine will change beyond recognition, a leading health expert has said. 

Speaking at the recent London Innovation Summit, Professor Sir Robert Lechler, executive director, King’s Health Partners and vice-principal at King’s College London, said there were a number of innovative technological developments that were changing the healthcare landscape. 

These developments were being led by personalised medicine and pan-omics (genomics, epigenomics, metabolomics, proteomics and exposomics), which would radically change the way we understand diseases, he said. “We will unpick the omics and patients will be put into a variety of categories based on whether the drug will work and its toxicity.”

Sir Robert also stressed the move to regenerative medicine, where organ transplantation would be a thing of the past, and discussed the digital revolution and biometric monitoring.

“We will have to run to keep up with the pace of change… to do this we need to bring together the fragmented landscape,” he said. 

Sir Robert’s views on the future of healthcare were echoed by Dr Mene Pangalos, executive vice president, innovative medicines and early development at AstraZeneca, who said cancer would become a manageable chronic illness with the development of personalised healthcare. This stratified medicine would also spill into asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular disease, he added.   

“This will be pivotal in everything we do from better clinical trials to reducing healthcare costs. And patients will benefit the most.” 

Other developments to watch in the healthcare space included human cell technology and regenerative tissues, oligonucleotide therapeutics, genome editing and intelligent medicines, Pangalos said. 

Meanwhile, immunotherapies in cancer were set to go wild following the success of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s skin cancer treatment Yervoy, said Dr Andrew Baum, global head of healthcare research at Citi. He believes the size of the market to be close to $45 billion and expects much investment in the coming years.