10 Most Promising Medical Innovations

January 30, 2018

Image Credit: consultqd.clevelandclinic.org

 

We live at a time when every day brings breakthrough inventions in all areas of life, and medicine is no exception. The Cleveland Clinic Innovations (CCI), founded in 2001, is one of the places where medical innovations are born and subsequently deployed to the world to help patients on a mass scale.

The annual Cleveland Clinic Summit is a much-awaited event where the experts from CCI present their inventions, and some of them are subsequently selected to be launched into further development and production. Over 3400 inventions were demonstrated at the summit in the years since its establishment, resulting in over 450 licenses, 800 patents issued and more than 40 active spin-offs.

 

What to watch for in the near future

Here are some of the most recent medical advances that were unveiled at the Cleveland Clinic Summit in 2017, and are likely headed from the medical institution to the market in the near future.

 

Diabetes medicine that decreases cardiovascular complications

Type 2 diabetes is a true plague of the Western world. Aside from the many issues that arise in the patients with type 2 diabetes, 50% of them die from cardiovascular complications. In 2016, there was a true breakthrough in the treatment of this widespread problem – two new medications that are paving the way for a new approach. Empagliflozin affects the kidneys in a positive way, thus impacting the progress of heart disease, and liraglutide has an even more positive comprehensive effect on the body.

 

Exploring the potential of microbiome in disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment

While the human genome was and, in many ways, remains one of the medical research frontiers, the microbiome is coming into focus as well. This research direction is accelerating and is showing great promise in numerous segments of medicine. Microbes and the chemicals they produce in the body actively participate in food digestion, medicine uptake and the progress of diseases. Studying and introducing corrections to the microbiome is definitely a promising way to attain specific results in treatment of various diseases.

 

Image Credit: collective-evolution.com

Leukemia and lymphoma treatment via cellular immunotherapy

Leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphomas have not yet been treated by cellular immunotherapy, but they are about to be. Amazing results were demonstrated in the study conducted on acute lymphoblastic leukemia, with a remission rate reaching 90%. This treatment may also be further researched and approved for a number of cancers and lymphomas. Hopefully, in the future it may replace chemotherapy treatment, increasing the success of treatment and reducing side effects dramatically.

 

Liquid biopsy tests

Liquid biopsies are used to detect circulating tumor DNA, released by a tumor into the blood. This is truly a revolutionary invention, as there are currently only tests for specific types of cancer on the market, while liquid biopsies are non-specific, and will provide an opportunity to detect cancer in early stages without conducting a multitude of tests.

 

FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources)

Due to the emergence of multiple in-house information and record systems, the need for an intermediary arises, if patient data is to be shared seamlessly between institutions. FHIR is a tool that does just that, working with both clinical and administrative data.

 

Image Credit: Thereseborchard.com

Ketamine as an anti-depressant

Depression and suicide is a huge problem in the United States. A related problem is the non-efficiency of regular treatments for 1/3 US patients suffering from depression. The effectiveness of ketamine, previously used as an anesthesia drug, as a quick treatment for severe depression was first noted during a 2013 study.

 

3D visualization and AR in surgery

Once merely a sci-fi concoction, AR and 3D visualization are especially welcome in neurosurgery and retinal neurosurgery. Hospitals are already adopting these futuristic tools, but they are expected to be improved and used more extensively in the time to come.

 

HPV test kits

Human papilloma virus (HPV) is linked to cervical cancer, and self-administered HPV kits to be mailed to the labs should greatly improve early stage diagnosis and survival rates.

 

Image Credit: xtalks.com

Bioabsorbable stents

Polymer coronary artery stents that are gradually absorbed by the body have already been approved in the US, but the market is bound for expansion.

 

Driverless car capabilities

While not a medical invention per se, the automated driving safety features and driverless cars may be the answer to the many deaths and disabilities lined to car accidents, as well as to the huge annual medical costs incurred by accident-related treatment. Safety tech is on the rise, and humans, along with human error, may soon be left with minimum control over what a car does on the road, whether we like it or not.

These and many other inventions presented at the Cleveland Clinic Medical Innovation Summit instill greater hope still in the future of medicine and humankind.

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