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We’ve Heard about How Blockchain Can Track Med Records, but Can It Find Cures?

Last Updated May 16, 2023 5:35 AM
Guest Writer
Last Updated May 16, 2023 5:35 AM
a doctor writing on a piece of paper next to a laptop

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Let’s begin with an example. Say a scientist in Rio de Janeiro is studying lung cancer. He makes significant progress in learning about potential cures, but his research is missing something important that he just can’t quite get his finger on. Across the world in Beijing is another scientist, and she’s studying lung cancer too—and she’s found the Brazilian’ scientists’ missing piece without even realizing it.

What are the chances of them meeting? What if their critical research forever remains incomplete because neither of them ever figure out the other pieces? That means two people came so close to curing lung cancer, but because they are so far away and separated by language barriers, there’s a disconnect.

That’s what Nano Vision  wants to change. According to their white paper, “the model driving scientific advancement is broken. Trillions of dollars are spent globally with sporadic successes. Critical data is siloed in individual institutions and governments around the world when it should be widely shared and improved upon for collective progress. Without access to common data sets, we don’t have all of the puzzle pieces we need to solve the complexities of the problems we face… Clinical trials cost billions of dollars to conduct, but over 90 percent of them end in failure. How can we expect to affect real change when our systems are this clunky and so much time and treasure is wasted?”

Imagine a world where scientists can collaborate globally. Everyone had different resources, different minds, different ideas—but finding cures is a challenging task and it’s daunting to put it all on the shoulder of individual teams who lack what others have, and vice versa. So how do we address this problem? It’s not exactly practical to have gigantic scientific conferences and conventions every week with millions of researchers who speak different languages. Nano Vision has a plan, though—and it requires blockchain technology.


What Nano Vision does

Nano Vision’s  purpose is to dramatically accelerate the development of cures for global health threats, including preventive treatments, therapeutics, vaccines and drug development. They have created a blockchain-based platform that enables researchers around the world to share information, opening the possibility for greater collaboration and removing the temptation to hoard information.

Blockchain technology allows research to be collected “in real time from the places where it affects us most, like our homes hospitals, classrooms, or airports. Using blockchain, [they] will secure and authenticate data, attribute each piece of data to its correct source, and compensate all participants for their contributions,” according to their website.

Thanks to blockchain’s transparency and ability to record all transactions and alterations, everyone using the platform will be able to see everyone else’s data—this way, when people wish to collaborate, they don’t have to ask for information or go out of their ways to share their own. Instead, it’s all on display for whoever needs to see it.

Nano Vision’s platform also uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to advance and interpret the immense exposition of molecular data. Their AI is intended, over time, to be able to identify trends and predict outcomes based on the research it aggregates. They seek to compile the world’s largest dataset, and this massive collection of information not only provides a unique and unprecedented tool for researchers, it can help them draw conclusions.

How Nano Vision works

Nano Vision’s operations model includes a chip they developed alongside Arm, the world’s leading semiconductor IP company (SoftBank owns them). The chip collects molecular data in real time, increasing the amount of available data by orders of magnitude.

The chip can mint a new kind of cryptocurrency, called Nano Cure Coin, which assigns real value to the molecular data that it collects. The coin then secures and authenticates data—and as you may have noticed earlier, the technology can “compensate all participants for their contributions.” This latter feature may be particularly appealing to people who are tempted to withhold information for the possibility of becoming “THE person who cured such-and-such disease.” People like to take credit for their discoveries, after all—but credit can be shared, and Nano Vision’s platform encourages people to share credit for the betterment of humanity.

The platform isn’t just for government and institutions, though. Citizen scientists are welcome to participate, because who says important research and good ideas can only come from certain spaces? One of Nano Vision’s goals is to “unleash both the professional scientist from current institutional boundaries as well as encourage the citizen scientist to participate directly in the process.” If an unaffiliated individual has an idea or data that can lead to a cure, Nano Vision’s  platform is an excellent way for them to share what they have rather than be impeded by bureaucracy.

Do you think Nano Vision has the potential to lead to scientific cures more efficiently than traditional paths?