In April 2015 I visited the Wired Health conference in London, I write the following about a product I saw called the MinION:

Clive G Brown, CTO of Nanopore Technologies, spoke about how his company’s USB stick-sized DNA sequencer will enable an “internet of living things”. He spoke of how he could see consumers using this medical device and having results go to the cloud for diagnosis. Old DNA sequencing machines cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and are huge, this device costs just £650. Clive has a vision for immediate results on a device that can be run anywhere, he used an analogy of building it into a toothbrush so your biology can be sequenced every morning and monitored for changes.

A device like this could be revolutionary in the field of testing epidemics, environmental monitoring and infectious disease control. It’s predictive and preemptive. It could allow general self quantification in the same way diabetes patients track their blood sugar. For any leukaemia patient, like me, who has to have regular blood tests or bone marrow biopsies, several narratives converged for me at this particular moment in time.

Imagine a device that meant we wouldn’t have to visit our consultant regularly but still allowed us to do regular blood tests. It would pick issues up sooner, share results, save the NHS lots of money and do away with bone marrow biopsies. Imagine a device that could track chromosome abnormalities and check immediately for the philadelphia chromosome. The device you see me holding in my hand could be the key to unlocking all of that. This could also be the key to mass screening and therefore the saving of many lives. No pressure there then.

Clive is clearly a man who wants to keep expectations in check but I can’t help but get excited. I spoke to the team during one of the breaks and we are going to talk. This is one to watch!

Last week I was invited to the Nanpore offices in Oxford to give a talk to their staff about self-quantification. The talk ultimately ended up being about the life of a CML patient and the things we go through on a daily basis. It was an emotional rollercoaster and I felt the 150-strong audience were with me every single step. My talks are hard work, I don’t spare any detail but I try and look at things in a light-hearted way. I’m happy to share in order to get people to understand. Understand the patient and the process becomes simple.

After the talk I was given a tour of the offices and laboratories. It’s an incredible organisation with a talented staff who care deeply about their work. It was very humbling to meet so many good people. The CEO, Dr Gordon Sanghera, is driven, intense and inspirational and made me feel very welcome.

This won’t be last you’ll hear from me about Nanopore, I have high hopes from them in 2016. No one ever does something that changes the World because it is easy……they do it to make a difference. I hope I was able to show them enough to see what that difference will make.    Kris Griffin

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