CureTalk Interviews Andrew Rettek about MetaMed and Nanotechnology
In conversation with Andrew Rettek, Patient Manager at MetaMed….
Andrew works closely with doctors, researchers, and clients to ensure that the research being done precisely meets the clients’ needs. He has worked with the Singularity Institute (now MIRI) for the past several years, helping to run the most successful Singularity Summits in SF and in NYC. He studied economics at Columbia University.
Read on to know how personalized medical research can help solve the seemingly unsolvable problems.
Me: What kind of work is MetaMed is doing?
Andrew: MetaMed is a personalized medical research and consulting company. If you’ve got a health problem you haven’t been able to solve by going to doctors, we get a team of doctors and scientists working on your case, doing a personalized meta-analysis of the scientific literature. What treatments and lifestyle changes have strong evidence for effectiveness? What works for patients like you (with similar demographics, genes, symptoms, medical histories, etc)? Most published research findings are false, and the vast majority of scientific research never actually gets read by doctors; our researchers filter the flood of information and condense it into practical options. We’re also developing mathematical models/AI tools for diagnostics and risk prediction.
Me: What are 2 current interesting researches that are on at MetaMed?
Andrew: We are doing the following interesting research:
- A meta-analysis of public health data that shows that HPV-caused prostate cancer is a major (and under-recognized) killer of gay men
- A case study of a newly discovered neurological disease
- Partnering with Nanotronics Imaging (Matthew Putman’s company), which develops a light microscope as accurate as an electron microscope, to find medical applications; Nanotronics could make routine uterine cancer screening a reality
Me: Is there any one particular breakthrough research for cancer prevention that is underway currently? What is it? How do you think it will help in the understanding of cancer and its causes?
Andrew: We’re very impressed by the work of James Watson who is currently working on cancer as a redox disease. Anti-oxidants apparently protect cancer cells from the immune system. Major diseases of modern life (diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, many cancers, Alzheimer’s) correlate with inflammation and the ‘metabolic syndrome‘ and respond to metformin; it’s possible that there’s a single redox/inflammatory/immune/metabolic process going on which can be addressed.
Me: MIRI is one of the most successful Singularity Summits in SF and in NYC. What do you believe is the reason behind its success and popularity?
Andrew: I was personally involved with the Singularity Summits between 2009 and 2011. Their success, both as a place to see some of the best minds in the modern world and as a fun place to be and meet people, are largely due to Michael Vassar, the former director of The Singularity Institute (now MIRI). 3 years in a row, I saw him pour his heart and soul into those events to make them what they were. Now he puts the same effort into MetaMed, instead of a speaker list he’s putting together our Advisory Board, instead of putting together a great suit of volunteers to run a conference, he’s putting together a great team of researchers.
Me: What do you think is the future of nanotech?
Andrew: The future of nanoteach is uncertain. In the near term we’re going to get lots of new technologies operating at the nanoscale, things like: better computers, better batteries, better microscopes (such as those at Nanotronics and those that will come after), better materials, for building devices and vehicles, to better fabrics.
However, the word nanotech was brought into public discourse in the 1986 with Drexler’s work The Engines of Creation and later Nanosystems. These works describe machine activity at the nano scale, not just observation or having fibers that small. The question is where such systems will be built, whether they are built in academia, a research lab at a large company like IBM, a startup funded for just that purpose, or a government lab (and which government?). That question, more than any other will shape the long-term future of nanotech.
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