Introduction

Webcasts from the 42nd annual Nobel Conference® at Gustavus Adolphus College are now available. Please review the list of presenters and click "lecture" to view their presentation, or "Q&A" to watch the subsequent question and answer session.

Medicine: Prescription for Tomorrow
The 42nd annual Nobel Conference®
Gustavus Adolphus College

Medical practice has changed significantly over the past 300 years, but it is poised to change even more in the decades to come. Public health has been improved through the knowledge of infectious agents and how to control them, while the development of a host of pharmacological agents has improved the treatment of many diseases. Genetic advances of the past century, coupled with immunology and biotechnology, open new possibilities for diagnosis, treatment, and even prevention of those diseases not amenable to the past treatments; cancer, neurodegeneration, and genetic disorders are all within the scope of the future of medical science intervention. With these new techniques, however, will come a host of public policy and medical care delivery problems, from cost to decisions on who will receive the treatments. Moral and ethical issues abound.

The 42nd Nobel Conference, to be held on October 3 and 4, 2006, will celebrate the successes of modern medicine and consider how it may further enrich our lives in the future; at the same time, the conference will also examine some of the issues that will need to be addressed in the future:

  • Can modern science continue to be the answer to serious medical problems?
  • Should basic medical research be funded by public funds or left to private companies, letting the profit motive guide future research?
  • What are the new technologies that will impact our lives in the future?
  • Is it possible to develop new technologies without risking unforeseen consequences?

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