2 years ago
The next time you get your year-end physical, know that there’s somebody else out there getting a much more thorough one than you are—one that can predict cancer, heart disease, and any other number of life-threatening maladies. But that guy’s paying a much steeper price than “free” for it.
California-based Human Longevity, Inc.’s Health Nucleus project—basically, a high-end health clinic in La Jolla—has taken the template for the free annual physical and recast it as an eight-hour, $25,000 ultra-targeted health-screening. The brainchild of scientist/entrepreneur J. Craig Venter, Health Nucleus promises each patient a complete genomic sequencing—using a $1 million machine—in order to pre-detect diseases, cancers, tumors, and any number of awful things that your average general practitioner wouldn’t have the means (or technology) to even source. “It’s a field people are confused about; some people think something like 23andMe is a human-genome sequencing, when it’s just a tiny survey of parts of the genome,” says Venter, speaking of one of his competitors. “We’re trying to get it so that it’s predictable—[by] just looking at your code, what your risk for future disease is.” And that’s pretty damned disruptive if you think about it. It’s openly questioning the care doctors provide us daily, and the results we trust are right. It’s downright G-d-like.
So what goes down during the world’s most expensive “turn your head and cough”? Besides that fully sequenced genome, the procedure includes measuring thousands of chemicals in your blood; a 75-minute MRI; tests of bone, muscle, and fat density; working out the percentage of alcohol and fat in your liver; psychological and neurological tests; figuring out whether you have certain sleep disorders; and a 4-D echocardiogram, which spits out a full-color, highly graphic image of your heart.
All the data takes a few months to process, and the result is about as close to finding out “who you are” as you can get. And if you’re wondering how well it works, Venter claims that 40 percent of patients who come in for the tests find out major things wrong with them. “We already have thank-you letters from people for saving their lives,” says Venter.
For more on Health Nucleus, click here. For a more detailed look at its background, including an additional interview with Venter, watch the video below.