A Massive Shift Will Lead to Gains in Health Care

Lori Alf was certain she was weeks from death...

In the late 2000s, Lori had a stubborn cough... pain in her ribs and back... and difficulty breathing. At first, she thought she had a nasty cold.

But after her doctor treated her symptoms, they just wouldn't go away.

After further testing and a bone marrow biopsy, doctors discovered the worst. They diagnosed Lori with advanced-stage multiple myeloma.

Her doctor and family were horrified. Five-year survival for this disease is slightly better than a coin flip, at only 55%... And it was thought to be only treatable, not curable.

But a groundbreaking technology changed everything. It's one example of how tech is upending the health care sector... and creating massive opportunity today.

Multiple myeloma hijacks a type of white blood cell called plasma cells. These are responsible for making antibodies that kill germs in our bodies.

As the cancerous cells multiply, they build up in bone marrow and produce dysfunctional antibodies that interfere with major organs like the kidneys.

Lori and her husband traveled from their home in Florida to a myeloma expert at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

Doctors gave her a chemotherapy cocktail that would smash down the cancer enough to salvage some of her own stem cells. These stem cells could be used for a bone marrow transplant. But Lori's cancer was tough. After nine months, the chemo wasn't working.

So her doctors started a second round with more aggressive chemo drugs... And it worked. Doctors completed the stem-cell transplant. But the good news didn't last long.

Within weeks, it was apparent the cancer was progressing again. For the next several years, Lori spent her time in and out of the hospital... receiving blood transfusions and other care that only treated her worsening symptoms. There wasn't much more the doctors could do.

In 2014, and at only 80 pounds, it looked like Lori was near the end.

But a new study at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania provided a ray of hope.

Researchers were looking for volunteers with advanced forms of myeloma like Lori's. They were testing a cutting-edge therapy called chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, or "CAR T-cell" for short.

The therapy removes the patient's own immune cells, genetically reengineers them to attack only cancer, and then infuses them back into the body. Doctors essentially create a drug from living tissue that is tailored directly to each patient.

Lori had exhausted nearly every option for treatment when she was enrolled in an early-stage clinical trial. Her bone marrow was 95% clogged with myeloma tumors.

What happened next was nothing short of miraculous...

Nearly seven years after Lori began her battle, the radiology scans showed no tumor cells.

None. Zero. Lori is alive and well today.

The underlying treatment she was administered was granted breakthrough status by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") – a regulatory classification aimed to speed up the process of approval for lifesaving treatments.

Her treatment is one of the earliest examples of the cancer treatments now known as immunotherapy.

This method uses the body's own immune cells to fight cancer. Since Lori's treatment, researchers believe many more kinds of cancer can be treated this way.

The scientific community has been building new and better drugs for years. And they're coming at a quicker pace...

The chart below shows the number of new drugs approved by the FDA since 2000. The FDA clears about 35 drugs per year on average... But approvals have topped that average every year since 2018. Take a look at the increase over time...

This is partly driven by new disease threats, like COVID-19, that have forced innovation. It also stems from a modern-day resurgence of diseases like monkeypox and polio.

But the real traction is being driven by new therapies, like the one that led to Lori Alf's miraculous recovery...

These are aimed at cancer, heart disease, and rare diseases. Many are called "biologic" drugs, meaning they're created from living material sources – like humans, animals, and other microorganisms.

These revolutionary medicines cover a wide range of products from vaccines to blood components to gene therapy. They offer newfound hope for the treatment of diseases with no current cure. They can also be targeted to a specific disease within a specific person.

Spotting groundbreaking medical advancements before they receive FDA approval can be an incredibly lucrative investment strategy. And now is the time to start paying attention to this space...

Many health care companies are making life-changing drugs and medicines. And you can bet they'll be perfectly positioned to benefit from this astounding growth.

Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,

Dr. David Eifrig

Editor's note: In the past two years alone, the $4 trillion health care industry has made huge strides. According to Doc, we have artificial intelligence to thank for that success... But the progress we've seen is just the tip of the iceberg. AI will drive huge advancements for these companies in the coming years. And if you're looking to make outsized gains in this space, the time to get in is now... Click here to learn the details.

Further Reading

The big names in tech are already invested in the AI boom. But that doesn't mean the upside is over. It's still early days for the AI revolution – and the many buying opportunities it will create... Read more here.

The AI-chatbot market is filled with competition today. But the "Amazon of China" has stepped up as a noteworthy contender. Here's why this "unsung" stock in the AI trend is worth paying attention to now... Learn more here.