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Will there be a cure for all the diseases in the world?



Photo: Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland / Bellhäuser

Scientists are learning enormous amounts about the processes at work in our bodies and how they can go astray. They are beginning to understand how single molecules or cellular mechanisms are interlinked and how they create states of health or disease in our tissues, our organs, and our bodies as a whole. Rapid developments in technology will soon make it easy and affordable to sequence every person’s genome, and lead to the discovery of new associations between genes and the risk of acquiring disease. We will be able to predict certain predilections to disease and design individualised programmes of diet, exercise, and lifestyle to help each of us live longer, healthier lives. We will be able to match specific therapies to specific cases and design individual courses of prevention and therapy. So it will be impossible to say definitively that we have forever eradicated disease. But we can certainly anticipate that once a new health threat appears, the process of understanding its causes and designing an effective therapy will go much faster.

Russ Hodge, science writer at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, answered this question.