Quantum Computing Takes The Stage in Cleveland Clinic CEO Tom Mihaljevic’s 2024 “State of the Clinic Address”

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In his State of the Clinic address on January 24, 2024, Dr. Tom Mihaljevic, CEO and President of Cleveland Clinic and Morton L. Mandel CEO Chair, unveiled advancements in healthcare, with a special focus on the revolutionary impact of quantum computing in medicine. His words focused on the pivotal role of innovation and education in transforming healthcare.

Mihaljevic highlighted the substantial investment of Cleveland Clinic in these areas, exceeding $500 million annually. This commitment is evident in the significant expansion of the research space on the main campus, including the inauguration of renovated laboratories and the initiation of two new research buildings in the Innovation District.

“Last year, we opened 45,000 square feet of renovated laboratories,” said Mihaljevic.

Addressing global collaborations, Mihaljevic mentioned the vital role of international partnerships, such as the transformational gift from the United Arab Emirates, in advancing research on pathogens and cancer immunotherapy.

The core of Mihaljevic’s address was the integration of quantum computing in medicine, particularly at Cleveland Clinic.

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“Cleveland Clinic is home to the Discovery Accelerator, which has the first IBM quantum computer in medicine,” he said. This quantum technology, as Mihaljevic envisions, is set to revolutionize medical diagnostics and treatments, making the discovery of cures more efficient. “Quantum technology will make finding cures swift and efficient,” he added.

An exciting application of this technology is in the early detection of lung cancer through a blood test. Mihaljevic described this as sounding “like science fiction.” The project involves identifying molecular biomarkers for lung cancer, which could potentially save thousands of lives annually. He elaborated on the challenges faced in traditional computing, saying: “It’s very difficult for classical computing, classical machine learning algorithms to handle that large number of different features.”

The application of quantum computing in this area is not just a leap in technology but a paradigm shift in medical research. Mihaljevic shared insights into two ongoing studies focusing on early lung cancer detection. The studies involve examining DNA fragment lengths and methylation of genes for cancer risk indicators. He drew attention to the potential of quantum computing to effectively process the enormous volume of molecular features involved in these studies.

Mihaljevic’s vision extends beyond individual projects to a broader perspective on healthcare transformation. He mentioned Cleveland Clinic’s comprehensive approach to brain studies, aiming to identify biomarkers for neurodegenerative disorders before they manifest.

The address concluded with a focus on the necessity of education in healthcare. Mihaljevic stressed the importance of educating healthcare workers across the spectrum, from students to lifelong learners, in leveraging these emerging technologies and treatments.

Mihaljevic’s address not only showcased Cleveland Clinic’s advancements but also set a benchmark for the future of healthcare, where quantum computing and collaborative innovation pave the way for groundbreaking medical discoveries.

Featured image: Credit: Cleveland Clinic

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James Dargan

James Dargan is a writer and researcher at The Quantum Insider. His focus is on the QC startup ecosystem and he writes articles on the space that have a tone accessible to the average reader.

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