Microsoft Stock Could Surge Thanks to Cancer-Curing Computers
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) believes it can cure cancer within the next 10 years using computers. In other words, Microsoft expects to succeed where decades of medical science and billions of dollars in research have failed.
Microsoft stock has doubled over the past decade. That’s a good performance, but it also points to stagnation, considering that MSFT has grown by over 59,000% since it went public in 1986!
So far in 2016, Microsoft has gained 2.6%. So it’s not hard to see that, compared to the past, even if investors are not quite heading for the emergency exits, Microsoft stock needs a boost. Microsoft needs something big to push its valuation to the next level.
The company is working on a variety of new technologies, including quantum computing. It will also soon achieve an Internet breakthrough, launching a virtual reality (VR) tool. Microsoft will soon add VR and augmented reality (AR) capability to its “Edge” browser. (Source: “Bringing WebVR to Microsoft Edge,” Microsoft Corporation, September 9, 2016.)
But even that has not excited Microsoft shareholders, as MSFT stock has traded rather flatly over the past few months, not to mention the last few weeks. The following news, however, should definitely grab investors’ attention.
Microsoft has brought together biologists and computer scientists. Together they have started to work on several research projects leading to the single goal of defeating cancer. Microsoft is not pulling any punches. The company literally says it can cure cancer in 10 years using computers. Biology alone has not managed to solve cancer.
Perhaps Microsoft has the right idea. Fighting cancer might be more effective if computers were more involved. Then again, Microsoft, may have reached a wider medical breakthrough. Computers could make all branches of medicine more effective. (Source: “Microsoft will ‘solve’ cancer within 10 years by ‘reprogramming’ diseased cells,” The Telegraph, September 20, 2016.)
Here’s How Microsoft Plans to Deliver a Cancer Cure
The main idea behind Microsoft’s approach to cancer is that if we are able to control and regulate cancer, then it becomes like any chronic disease and therefore the problem is mostly solved. (Source: Ibid.)
Microsoft’s new team of biologists and computer scientists, located around the world, will address various aspects of research on cancer. They intend to combine machine learning and computer vision to give radiologists a better understanding of how cancer progresses in a specific patient. This could pave the way for an ever more personalized medicine, which is just the first step to fighting cancers.
Meanwhile, another team will work on algorithms that predict the best strategies for attacking each specific type of cancer. Another group will engineer the computers—using DNA—that will be able to monitor and reprogram cancer cells in the body. The idea is that any time there are cancer cells, the DNA computer will detect them and restart the system to eliminate cancer cells. (Source: Ibid.)
In short, Microsoft is planning nothing less than breaking the “code” of cancer in affected cells and then reprogramming cells back to health. (Source: Ibid.)
To offer a more mundane comparison, computers now monitor most functions of a car’s engine to determine when maintenance is necessary. For example, there are sensors measuring oil viscosity, which prompt warning lights to alert drivers that an oil change is due. Microsoft, is translating this concept to cancer cells.
Microsoft will open up a myriad of possibilities. The company will have combined information processing and machine learning. The tools that are used to model and reason about computing processes, such as programming languages, will serve to develop models about biological processes.
Microsoft’s approach to cancer cures will allow researchers to better analyze millions of biological data files in search of new therapeutic approaches. Currently, this is done manually, requiring too much time. Machine learning can process such data at unprecedented speeds.
Ten Years Is a Realistic Timeline to Produce a Cancer Cure
Regarding Microsoft’s goal of achieving this in 10 years, many researchers involved in the project believe it is an appropriate timeline. Microsoft (and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to a lesser extent) is the company that first made personal computing available to millions of people worldwide. That process accelerated the development of computers overall, with computers becoming increasingly more powerful and capable of processing data.
In many ways, Microsoft is—for good or bad—one of the companies responsible for how all of the world’s inhabitants live today. It should surprise nobody that this company wants to continue having such a disruptive effect, and medicine represents the company’s next major frontier. It might be greedy to discuss financial gains in the context of cancer, but this opens Microsoft to a whole new world of added profits.
The Agency for Healthcare, Research and Quality (AHRQ) has estimated that in 2011, the total cost of treating cancer patients in the United States was $88.7 billion. Half of that sum was for outpatient or medical visits, 35% was for hospital stays, and 11% was for drugs. (Source: “Economic Impact of Cancer,” American Cancer Society, last accessed September 26, 2016.)
Once Microsoft perfects its algorithm approach to cancer cures, it will change all of this. Cures will be based on reprogramming of cells rather than chemotherapy or radiation, and Microsoft will own the patents, methods, software, and hardware that medical facilities will crave around the world. For Microsoft stock, the next decade should deliver a surge to rival the climb from $10.00 to $58.00, which happened between 1996 and 1999.