Could All Diseases Be Cured by 2099? A Bold New Initiative Says It’s Possible (Video)

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By the end of the 21st century, many of the diseases plaguing the human race could be cured. At least, that’s what Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan are hoping to achieve through a $3 billion offensive plan the husband and wife are jumpstarting.

The audacious healthcare plan is part of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which according to its website is based on the principles of advancing human potential and promoting equality. “The only way that we reach our full human potential is if we’re able to unlock the gifts of every person around the world,” say the couple of their plans to “focus first on personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities.” The Facebook CEO and his wife about a year ago pledged to donate $45 billion to various charities throughout their lifetimes, but it was just this week the two announced their donation to kickstart a plan to “cure, prevent or manage all diseases within our children’s lifetime.”

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In a video announcement, released unsurprisingly on Facebook, Chan outlined their vision and explained what they hope to achieve and how so. For over an hour, she, Mark, and the experts involved provide inspirational and highly enlightening information in front of a live audience, many of whom will likely suffer from a disease awaiting a cure. As is mentioned, “today, just four kinds of diseases cause the majority of deaths,” a statistic that does make the discovery of cures seem like a feasible endeavor. As the two state, such a goal can only be realized with the help of others, so much of the $3 billion investment (provided over the next ten years) will be used towards bringing “scientists and engineers together from Stanford, UCSF, Berkeley, and the world-class engineering team we’re building at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.”

Chan herself is a practicing doctor, and she gets tearful in sharing the anecdote which first drew her to pursue medical science in the first place. Of her work as a pediatrician, she says “it’s led me to think bigger about what’s possible,” and it’s expanding the current consensus of what humans can achieve that is at the heart of the search for cures. Far from idealistic, Chan says “that doesn’t mean that no one will ever get sick. But it does mean that our children and their children should get sick a lot less. And when they do, we should be able to detect or treat it, or at least manage it, as an ongoing condition.”

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Included in the Initiative’s first science investment is what’s called the “biohub,” which Chan describes as a $600 million collective of experts who will function as a think tank to “develop new tools to understand and treat disease.” Also mentioned is the desire to “grow the movement to fund science,” which Zuckerberg says will be achieved through focusing on partnerships rather than donations to individuals working separately from one another. “In today’s funding environment, it is really hard to have a large group of world class engineers like the kind that you’d find at a great technology company today working on these kind of problems. And of course, that’s exactly what’s required for developing a lot of modern tools,” he says. “So this is going to be one of the biggest focuses for us at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.”

From the eradication of smallpox, the almost-complete eradication of polio, the development of vaccines for illnesses like influenza and measles, the arrival of insulin, the use of antiobiotics, and the drastic reduction in cases of HIV around the world, the world of medical science has achieved immeasurably vital goals over the last 100 years. Imagine what we can achieve in the next 1oo.

Find Amanda Mester on Twitter.