Speaking to The Telegraph, tech giant Microsoft vowed to “solve the problem of cancer” within a decade.
The tech company is taking a different approach to cancer research, treating the disease as a computational problem and attempting to “reprogram” cells to their original, healthy states.
Recruiting the best biologists, researchers, and engineers in the world, Microsoft opened their first wet laboratory where they will map out and test the inner workings of cells.
Laboratory director at Microsoft Research Chris Bishop said: “I think it’s a very natural thing for Microsoft to be looking at because we have tremendous expertise in computer science and what is going on in cancer is a computational problem.”
“It’s not just an analogy, it’s a deep mathematical insight. Biology and computing are disciplines which seem like chalk and cheese but which have very deep connections on the most fundamental level,” said Bishop.
Alongside cell mapping and testing, researchers at Microsoft are working on tiny molecular computers constructed from DNA that will work inside cells to detect cancer cells forming and “reboot” the cell to a healthy state.
Head of Microsoft’s new cancer fighting group, Andrew Philips, said: “It’s long term, but… I think it will be technically possible in five to 10 years time to put in a smart molecular system that can detect disease.”
Senior researcher and associate professor at Cambridge University Dr. Jasmin Fisher corroborated Philips claims, saying, “If we are able to control and regulate cancer then it becomes like any chronic disease and then the problem is solved. I think for some of the cancers five years, but definitely within a decade. Then we will probably have a century free of cancer.”
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