Historically, as a 'disruptive technology' is being developed, it starts small, usually solving problems that you can already do with existing techniques, albeit in a different way. (A familiar example is the iPhone that started an entire industry.) Over time the new technology advances, until it both replaces existing, more expensive or costly techniques, and also provides critically important functions that existing techniques simply cannot do at any cost. Even in the beginning, it usually has a few unique applications that existing techniques cannot accomplish. Over time, more and more of these unique applications occur.
So, exactly why is this new field of subcellular psychobiology a 'disruptive technology'? The answer is in two areas: cost and applications. What does it cost?
Let's look at the money issue first. Although capable research biologists, doctors or engineers are needed to derive techniques for specific diseases, once this is done, the resulting subcellular psychobiology technique can be put on a YouTube video and used by millions of people at no cost. In comparison to today's ruinously expensive biomedical research, the up-front research and development costs for this entire new field would barely be noticed in a conventional research budget! (Of course, humans are complex and some will obviously need trained professional help. And this does not mean that you could use this technology, as it stands today, at a car accident. But a huge part of the cost of current medicine is due to the very problems that subcellular psychobiology is ideal for.)
Another huge advantage (or disadvantage depending on your point of view) is that subcellular biology and its techniques are inherently unpatentable. This is a huge advantage for altruistically-minded professionals; although they wouldn't find economic support from for-profit companies, they also wouldn't get sued for moving forward by these same corporate entities.
Adoption in the Third World
We can predict that subcellular psychobiology will take more than a generation to make inroads. This is due to both the time it takes to develop the new technology more fully; and understandable disinterest by organizations to something so different from what they already know. However, there is one area where we hope it will be adopted almost immediately - the third world. Here, there are few current interventions that are affordable by the people of these nations. They simply don't have any alternatives, so this virtually free new technology is ideal for them.
There are other reasons why a country would tend to adopt this technology. For example, we're already seeing remarkable rates of adoption in Poland, a country still moving out of its Soviet block economic past. It is focused on moving forward with the best that the West has to offer. Essentially, they don't yet have an existing infrastructure that would have to be junked - instead, they want to build new with the best they can get.
What can it do?
Let's turn our attention to the other key area: applications. One reason a new technology is adopted - in spite of the ardent desires of most people that it would just go away! - is for this reason. Some problems simply cannot be solved with existing techniques or technologies, either because of prohibitive cost, or simply because it cannot be done at all with existing approaches. Subcellular psychobiology is actually in an interesting position here, as most of its current applications can be done with already existing techniques. By this, I mean you can use these new psychological techniques, or take a pill, and some kind of change happens, albeit usually a different one.
However, what really drives adoption is when there is no current solutions to some important problems. Mental illness is just such an example. Current medications, for the most part, simply dulls the person down to try and make the symptoms tolerable. Subcellular psychobiology has the potential, as it continues to develop, to cure most if not all of these disorders. Even more importantly, it has the potential to also cure virtually all diseases, not just mental disorders. For example, we've chosen to use this approach to understand the underling primary cell biology of type 1 diabetes, and are now working on a treatment.
Complement or compete?
Presently, subcellular psychobiology complements medicine and psychiatry. First, it can be used as a research tool, to find the cause of a disease or condition, so that a conventional drug treatment can be derived. For example, now that we know by using subcellular psychobiology that schizophrenic voices are caused by a fungus
, an antifungal might be found to treat the disease. Secondly, it offers treatments that simply don't have as effective solutions, especially in the field of mental health. An example of this is our treatment for traumatic brain injury (TBI
) - epigenetically suppressed resilience of the brain to damage can be restored, causing TBI symptoms to disappear in just hours. Finally, it also offers something rather unique, albeit something people really don't believe in or know that they want - the ability to give people more positive states of being. For example, you can go on YouTube and about a third of the people who use our Inner Peace Process
will get a stable state.
Let's look at the future a little bit, as this technology continues to develop and becomes more widespread. It is important to recognize that, as it has developed so far, subcellular psychobiology shows great promise, but the technology is new and it will be decades before it becomes 'mature' and starts to compete and replace existing techniques. By analogy, what you are seeing today is still the Apple II, not the MacBook Air we want it to be.
Pandemics and immunity
As this technology matures, we can see that it will start to compete with current drug treatments. As you've seen, we've focused on particular disease applications to illustrate this use. However, there is one application that the model predicts that is absolutely vital to pursue. Currently, antibiotics, antifungals and antivirals are rapidly becoming less and less effective. 'Superbugs' are starting to evolve and proliferate. Our models predict that we can actually make people immune to entire classes of disease, such as bacteria, viruses, or fungus. (Although exceedingly rare, there are people who already exhibit these kinds of immunity.) Although not needed today, it is clear that it won't be very long before a totally new approach to treating disease will be required. We don't want to wait till a world-wide pandemic sweeps our species. Fortunately, the potential to solve this problem ahead of time is now in our grasp.
So far, we've been focused on disease processes. However, there is far more to medicine than simple disease. If you are in a car accident, have appendicitis, or simply cut yourself, you need to see a doctor for surgery or stitches. Yet, eventually, we expect to see this model applied to solving true bodily regeneration. For example, can you imagine a world where you can use a psychological technique to rapidly regrow and repair teeth, rather than using painful, costly, and artificial dentistry? Let's hope this comes soon! From the desk of the research director,
Dr. Grant McFetridge
May 4, 2016References: