Since the health care giant announced its groundbreaking project in February 2015, it has expanded to include two dozen research programs with partners — in government, universities, patient advocacy groups and other drug and diagnostic test companies.
Johnson & Johnson’s expertise and resources should speed discoveries and allow the pharmaceutical and medical device company to spread its funding across more ventures.
Johnson reports that J&J yesterday gave an update and announced the latest two projects. They’re meant to identify which pregnant women will develop gestational diabetes, and to identify and treat people at risk of or in early stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the third-leading cause of death worldwide.
Wiegand said the mapping of the human genome and other recent scientific advances have made that goal feasible.
J&J’s “Disease Interception Accelerator” now is working on multiple studies in Type 1 and gestational diabetes, cataracts and vision-damaging presbyopia, depression in women during and after pregnancy, lung disorders and cancers of the cervix, mouth and throat caused by human papilloma virus.
The project is remarkable in an industry whose bread and butter is medicines that patients with chronic diseases take for years.
The idea is to first discover biomarkers — measurable biological and molecular signs in blood and other patient samples — indicating a disease will develop or is beginning. Next, scientists would develop affordable and easy-to-use diagnostic tests for those biomarkers.
Finally, researchers would develop new therapies, or determine which existing ones would work, to head off full-blown disease in those people. Those could include medicines, nutrition changes and physical or psychological therapy.
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