Just six days ago, the Cleveland Clinic released its Top 10 Medical Innovation list. This list describes breakthroughs in medicine that are likely to have a substantial impact on public health in 2015. In this article, the first five medical innovations will be explained. Stay tuned for the next top 5 medical innovations in next week’s issue!
Mobile Stroke Unit:
Time is of the essence in a medical emergency, and the mobile stroke unit seeks to maximize the time and care that stroke patients need. When a person has a stroke, emergency medical services dispatch a Mobile Stroke Unit to care for the individual. On the outside, this unit looks just like an ambulance, but the inside of the vehicle is equipped with state-of-the-art stroke diagnosis and treatment technology. The vehicle has a team of highly trained professionals that take care of the individual as the vehicle goes to the hospital. The vehicle also contains a portable CT Scanner that takes scans and wirelessly sends them to hospital staff, so that by the time the patient arrives, his or her information will already be there, which is really convenient for doctors on emergency duty—this information will allow them to act appropriately and prepare for the quickest, most effective procedure.
Dengue Fever Vaccine:
Dengue is a debilitating and deadly fever that is prevalent in tropical regions of the world. Dengue is caused by one of four viruses that are carried by mosquitoes. For a long time, the means of preventing dengue was to stay away from mosquitoes in certain regions of the world. Recently, one of the biggest innovations is the Dengue Fever Vaccine. The vaccine is being developed by Sanofi, a French drug company. The vaccine has showed success in the field: it has decreased the chance of encountering dengue by 60 percent, and it has decreased the chance of being hospitalized by 80 percent. The vaccine is expected to come to the market in 2015.
Painless Blood Testing:
The days of painful injections with large needles to draw blood are coming to an end. Now, new blood tests are being developed to use a single drop of blood to perform a battery of tests. The old tests that required a vial of blood will now be replaced by blood tests that require only a drop of blood. This blood will be drawn from a fingertip. This not only is convenient and makes medical testing more efficient, it also promotes sanitary measures because only one extraction of blood occurs.
PCSK9 Cholesterol Injection:
Heart Disease, America’s number one killer, is caused by cholesterol build-up in arteries, which alters and sometimes hinders blood flow. Of the many types of cholesterol, LDL-C is the bad type of cholesterol that causes atherosclerosis. The current means of lowering cholesterol is to take statins, which are drugs that lower the LDL Cholesterol. Using statins does not help everyone, and PCSK9 Injections are being developed to help those not served by statins. PCSK9 is an inhibitor that works to lower blood cholesterol levels, and is injected into the bloodstream. As this innovation continues to be developed, another deadly element of heart disease is no longer fatal.
New Cancer Drug:
One of the main forms of combating the spread of cancer is chemotherapy. While chemotherapy effectively targets cancerous cells, it also damages neighboring healthy cells. Researchers are currently developing treatment methods known as Antibody-Drug Conjugates that will overcome the drawbacks of chemotherapy. Antibody-Drug Conjugates are complexes of cytotoxic (anti-cancer) drugs and antibody fragments. The Antibody-Drug Conjugate works in a strategic way. The cancerous cells have receptors that the Antibody-Drug Conjugate can attach onto. Once attached, the Antibody-Drug Conjugate in absorbed by the cancerous cells. After it enters the cancerous cell, the Antibody-Drug Conjugate releases its cytotoxic drugs (anti-cancer drugs) to specifically combat the cancer cell that ingested it. The development of these drugs will save more healthy cells and will more efficiently prevent the spread of cancer cells.
Researchers and institutions are constantly developing newer and more efficient ways of treating the ill. As our understanding of the mechanisms of life grows, our means of treating illnesses advances. Stay tuned for the next five medical advancements next week!