7 Healthcare Innovations Of 2018
We’re all about innovations. And you already know that. FindMeCure promotes clinical trials precisely because we believe the future holds solutions for the obstacles we’re facing now and the healthcare problems that still plague us.
Thanks to medical advancements and healthcare innovations we’ve already defeated some of the worse diseases humanity have had to deal with. We have infection-fighting antibiotics and illness-preventing vaccines because of all the ingenious ideas brought to fruition by dedicated professionals and the people brave enough to embrace progress.
The power of scientific research to change people’s lives for the better should be highlighted at every chance, especially in a time when claims are made with very little interest in verification – a phenomenon now referred to as ‘fake news’.
Prompted by this understanding and with 2019 just three months away, we decided to take a look at the most promising and significant healthcare innovations of 2018.
Below you will find a list of remarkable discoveries, new methods finally implemented, tech solutions that make healthcare easier and more efficient and other innovative approaches, so keep reading.
- A better, personalized treatment for Rheumatoid arthritis
Precision medicine is a term used to describe the tailoring of treatment to the specific needs and characteristics of a patient. It’s a hot topic nowadays, with more and more professionals joining the ‘individual care’ train and advocating for a more personalized approach to treatment.
Breakthroughs in precision medicine are helping researchers come up with innovative treatments that respond to the individual patient and not simply revolving around an improved understanding of the disease.
Research on RA has been focusing on finding genes or sequences that play a role in the likelihood of a person developing the disease as well as the course of the disease itself.
Precision medicine targets problem-causing genes or vulnerable parts of the cell in order to weaken the disease, ease the symptoms and – hopefully – prevent or reduce joint damage and the risk of disability.
- CRISPR gets closer to eradicating a disease at a genetic level
Short for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Repeats, CRISPR is a tactic bacteria use to deal with diseases and in science, it refers to genome editing – a process that allows for genetic information to be added, cut out of or altered anywhere in our genetic code.
If you’re anything like some of us here, you might prefer a visual explanation of what CRISPR is, so for a quick lesson on genome editing you can check out this video and then proceed to read further.
So, as we were saying CRISPR might be closer to curing diseases than we previously thought. Researchers of Salk Institute led by Patrick Hsu targeted RNA in frontotemporal dementia and restored the healthy levels of protein in the affected neurons.
- Human trials begin for a cancer vaccine
Dr. Ronald Levy is leading the trials on 15 lymphoma patients for a vaccine developed by Stanford University researchers. The injections containing two immune-stimulating agents were previously tested in mice and showed incredible results, eliminating all traces of tumors.
Levy notes that the two immune-stimulating agents required have already been approved for use in humans but there’s another medicine involved in the process that until now hasn’t been in clinical trials.
While we’re on the topic of cancer, precision medicine is another way to go according to Dr. Otis Brawley from the American Cancer Society. He says that we already have a very in-depth understanding of what goes on inside a cancerous cell and it’s this understanding that allows for treatment to target the specific genetic mutations that matter.
We should note that precision medicines are not yet a cure, but they carry a significant promise of giving patients a better fighting chance. By treating the tumor for its specific genetic characteristics and mechanisms medicines are optimized, patients are spared unnecessary and uncertain interventions and there’s a higher possibility for success.
- UV light winning against viruses
You know about the crisis of antibiotics and what other solutions are being researched to fight drug-resistant bacteria. A huge step in the right direction is far-ultraviolet C light (far UVC light) that – like ultraviolet light – is harmful to viruses but unlike ultraviolet light, it does no damage to humans.
A new study shows that far UVC light can kill flu viruses without harming humans. Imagine what this means – a new approach to stopping flue epidemics by placing far UVC lights in public areas like schools, hospitals, airports, workspaces and so on.
But let’s not stop there. While still speculative, the notion that far UVC light can turn out to be an effective alternative to antibiotics in certain situations can be researched more in-depth in the future. Maybe we’re not so far from solving the superbugs problem healthcare has to deal with more and more in recent years.
- Synthesized Antibiotics in the battle against drug-resistant infections
While we’re on the topic, another way to fight superbugs that have adapted to currently available antibiotics has been used in mice by researchers from Britain’s University of Lincoln. The antibiotic teixobactin found in 2015 is a key discovery that holds a lot of promise to help against drug-resistant strains like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Just to have an understanding about the timeframe of developing new treatments that eventually get to the market and become available to the wider population, this new antibiotic is estimated to be between 6 and 10 years away from commercial use. Yes, it’s a long, long process of research.
- Quicker surgery recovery
The concept of ‘enhanced’ post-surgery recovery is gaining popularity. It’s a new methodology that has been researched and it shows significant potential to speed up and improve recovery after surgery.
ERAS (Enhanced Recovery After Surgery) includes allowing patients to eat before surgery, limiting opioids by introducing multi-modal analgesia, encouraging walking after surgery. Such simple changes seem to reduce complications like blood clots and infections and reduce hospital stay.
These, however, are not the only medical advancements of 2018, just our top 7 picks. As we’ve already stated, developing a new therapy or treatment takes time, so some of these innovations will be widely available a few more years down the road but the current tempo of scientific progress makes us hopeful about the future of healthcare.
If you want to take part in the process or gain access to novel treatments in development, you can check out FindMeCure for clinical trials addressing your particular concerns.