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Jonthan Rothberg being interviewed by Fox News about the Ion Proton Sequencer.
(FOX) It's a revolutionary breakthrough in human's fight against disease; a California based company unveiling a new machine that will allow people to map their entire genetic make-up in two hours for only a thousand bucks. This is such a huge advancement and joining us in a First on Fox Business interview is the man who created the device Jonathan Rothberg, founder and CEO of Ion Torrent; it is great to have you, congratulations. We need a drum roll by the way. You know we are actually going to unveil it, and here it is. That is incredible; so tell us what it is and how it works.
(Rothberg) All of us have gone to the doctor's office and had an MRI or a CAT scan. Now you'll be able to go to your doctor's office and have your genome read. And your genome determines everything from conception to death. How you respond to medicines, what diseases you'll get... everything about you.
(FOX) Every single thing about you; so this has huge health care ramifications does it not?
(FOX) Now the extraordinary thing about this machine is its been done before but at a much higher price and a much slower machine the process took a lot longer, took days rather than a couple of hours. So how did you make it cheaper, and faster, and what's to say that next year we may not find something even faster and cheaper than this.
(Rothberg) To make it cheaper and faster and make it part of health care we took the technology that enabled your phone or your computer. Semiconductors and we made for the first time a chip that instead of seeing light, like you take a picture sees chemistry. So now we can go right from your DNA to digital information. That first genome actually took 10 years and cost 3 billion. Now you can go into a major medical center, have your genome sequenced and that day get information back on how your disease is progressing or how you'll respond to a medicine.
(FOX) Okay that is the issue, we can almost in a way see into the future, can we not? Is that overstating what we can find from this machine?
(Rothberg) Right now we can see a little bit into the future. But as more and more scientists use this machine they'll gather information between your DNA and different people's outcome so over the next few years it becomes more and more powerful. Every time somebody's sequenced.
(FOX) Now beyond the individual this has significance for communities as well. You can tell by a community, by exactly how one particular gene group how is likely to behave or if you likely if you have a vaccine or something like that.
(Rothberg) Absolutely, our machines have been used for everything from outbreaks; like the outbreak last summer from e-coli was decoded on an early one of these machines, to water quality. So you can heal the world, you can fuel the world, and you can feed the world; because everything is based on DNA.
(FOX) Can this reduce the soaring costs of health care which are breaking our bank here in the United States?
(Rothberg) Absolutely, the beautiful thing about investing in technology is it is the only thing that can change the cost of health care. When my son was born he was rushed to the new born intensive care unit not breathing; that's why I developed this technology because I wanted to know what was going on with my son, I wanted to know his genome.
(FOX) Can you just open it up by the way just to show us exactly how it works?
(Rothberg) You can take blood, you can take saliva, you can take biopsy. You put that on one of these chips, you put the chip in the machine, you close it, and you press go. And then that information is on a computer or on the internet.
(FOX) This is a machine that could likely save millions of lives?
(Rothberg) It will save lives of course, first and foremost, and also those health care dollars. Because my son ran up a forty-five thousand dollar bill in the new born intensive care and if we had known what was happening, doctors can act on it.
(FOX) So insurance companies and people worrying if they're going to use it for their benefit, and then reject people seeing what's in your genome sequence.
(Rothberg) Right now insurance companies are very supportive because if you have a cancer 50% of the time you might be okay, 50% of the time you might need medicine. Now we can put the dollars on the people that need the medicine and let the other person go home to their family.
(FOX) And if I wanted to buy one, how much? (Rothberg) A hundred and forty-nine thousand dollars. (FOX) A steal, a steal. (Rothberg) And a thousand dollars a genome.