Personalized Medicine Brings Longevity Tomorrow - and Investment Opportunities Today
Plus, conversation with Aging Expert Dr. Ken Dychtwald on living a fulfilling life in retirement
Ric Edelman: It's Friday, January 6th. Welcome to the podcast. Long show, big show today. Really excited. A great interview with Dr. Ken Dychtwald, one of the world's leading experts on aging.
Before we get into it, though, I want to talk about a new report that has been produced by Global X ETFs. It's their outlook for 2023 and beyond. It's a special report that they published in coordination with the Wall Street Journal. And I'm going to be talking with you about this report over many, many weeks, because it's got a huge amount of fabulous content and it's all in the subject of exponential technologies, also called thematic investing. And I just want to share with you one snippet from Global X's outlook for 2023. Personalized medicine. You know, I'm a really big fan of exponential technologies. I created an Exponential Technologies ETF myself years ago, and my last book, The Truth about Your Future, was all about exponential technologies.
My personal portfolio is significantly overweighted in exponential technologies, and I am firmly believing that you should have 20 to 30% of your equity portfolio in exponential technologies. And the first one I want to focus on with you is personalized medicine. This is one of the most important new waves of technology. It's literally going to change and extend your life. Advances in genomic sequencing are leading to an individualized approach to healthcare. We don't even think about it. But really, I want you to take a moment and ponder this.
When you take, say, Lipitor (to lower your cholesterol), you take, what, 10 milligrams? 20, 40 milligrams? That's the same dosage as millions of other people. But everybody's taking the same drug. In 20 years, we're going to laugh at that archaic approach. This one size fits all. In the future, the pill you take will be a pill that's unique to you.
A Fascinating Look at my own DNA
A couple of years ago, I was enrolled in a special study with my physician in a new series of DNA examination where they were looking at my genome and I agreed to participate in this study. And it was absolutely fascinating. It was just a blood test. I mean, from my perspective, it was nothing. All they did was draw blood like usual, no big deal. But the study that came back, their analysis of my blood, they evaluated 600 drugs that are commonly prescribed by doctors all over the world. And what this study did was to show me the list of these drugs, 600 of them, and here's how I react to each of these drugs.
In other words, the study came back and is basically green, yellow, red. Some of them, they said, your doctor will prescribe the drug within these parameters if you ever need it, go ahead and take it. It'll perform exactly as your doctor hopes. But in other cases, they said, woah. The normal dosage that doctors typically prescribe for a given drug would have no effect on me. I would need to double or even triple the dose in order to get the pharmacological benefit of this medicine. That's not something my doctor would ever know or I would ever know. And you have to wonder how many people are taking prescriptions and not benefiting from it because their own body's unique elements aren't what the scientists have anticipated in their drug studies.
So it identified a whole bunch of these drugs where if I ever needed the prescription, I would need to take much more than the routine dosage. And then there were other drugs where they said, don't ever take them. They are toxic to you. You take these drugs, it'll kill you. Well, who would ever know that? And you always hear the stories about people who have side effects, you know, and the unexpected stuff. And it always affects a very small percentage of the population. But you don't want to be among that very small percentage, do you?
In fact, one day, this was several years ago after I participated in this study, I was in the emergency room. I had a kidney stone and the doc came in doing the routine thing and he said, “Okay, what we're going to do among the other stuff, here's a drug we want you to take, this will help you deal with the issue.” And I said, “This drug sounds a little familiar to me. Can you do me a favor? Punch up on my chart this study that's in your files.” Now, this ER doc had never even heard of this study. He wasn't my regular physician. He wasn't involved in this study. He didn't know anything about it. He looks at the chart and he sees that the drug he was going to prescribe for me was on my red list. And his reaction was, hey, we're certainly not going to prescribe that drug for you.
And so I began to realize this is what personalized medicine is all about. It's absolutely the future. Cutting edge technologies that are going to lead to a wave of patient benefits. We're talking things like early cancer detection, even cures across a range of illnesses. Next generation DNA sequencing is fueling a new cycle in drug discovery. Recent discoveries have led to biopsies that only involve a blood test. No more needles. 20 years ago, sequencing your genome cost $53,000. Today, it costs $1,000. By the end of the decade, it'll be a free app on your cell phone.
There are 350 million people worldwide who are walking around with an undiagnosed disease. 75% of the people with cancer don't even know it, and they won't until they get symptoms. And by then it is often too late. That means we need early detection. The market for early detection cancer screenings is going to be a $30 billion business. And once you detect that there's an illness in the body, you can start to treat it. We're going to have tailored therapeutics that are going to transform health care. Genomics is going to let us go after the root cause of disease, and that's going to help us halt the progression. We're not just talking about cancer. We're also talking about cardiovascular, neurological, respiratory, gastrointestinal diseases. All these therapies are going to consider patient specific factors like your individual genes and your lifestyle.
A new age of precision medicine, like I described with my visit to the ER, worldwide sales of cancer therapeutics are going to hit almost $400 billion over the next five years. That's twice today's rate, and we're going to have an 80% success rate in curing those diseases. Not only are there going to be new drugs available to you, but you’re also going to get them in new ways. I'm talking about telemedicine and digital health, online pharmacies, apps on your phone, your watch, your ring, all your wearable devices are going to monitor and analyze your health and send data directly to your doctor. You're already doing this with the latest Apple iPhone and Apple Watch and the Oura Ring. If you got one of those (a million people are wearing them), it tracks your sleep and measures your workouts. It tracks your movement, your steps, your heart rate and recovery, 20 biometric signals and all sends the data to an app on your phone. It tells you whether you should push yourself in your exercises or today, take it a little bit easy. It can even tell you when you might be getting sick before you even know it. The thing costs $350.
Five Biotech and Healthcare ETFs from Global X
Digital health services are going to grow 18% a year over the next five years. This is why I believe so strongly in investing in exponential technologies, and particularly in the biotech and healthcare fields and at Global X ETFs, they have five ETFs that I really like to provide exposure in this category. The Global X Agtech and Food Innovation ETF, the symbol is KROP. The Global X Genomics and Biotechnology ETF, the symbol is GNOM. The Global X Telemedicine and Digital Health ETF, the symbol is EDOC. The Global X Aging and Population ETF, symbol AGNG. And the Global X Health and Fitness ETF, the symbol BFIT. I'm a fan of all of these because I believe in the long-term, these technological innovations are going to be matched with massively effective investment potential. You can learn more about this new report that Global X has published with the Wall Street Journal. You can go to the interactive website at ChartingDisruption.com. And if you'd like to read the full report and learn all about the Global X ETFs that I've just mentioned, go to GlobalXETFs.com. And if you are a financial advisor, I encourage you to take a look at these ETFs and consider them for your clients' portfolios.