10 medical innovations to be available in 2018
What technologies will enter the market next year? How will they affect patient care and medicine in general? We present to you the top 10 innovations that significantly exceed existing practices, are more convenient for users, improve the quality of medical care and have high commercial potential.
The world's first "artificial pancreas"
In 2016, the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approved the world's first hybrid insulin delivery system for patients with type 1 diabetes.
The set of equipment (continuous glucose meter + insulin pump) works on the principle of a closed system and automatically performs three functions at once: it measures the level of glucose in the blood, calculates and enters the required amount of insulin. This is much more convenient than the traditional approach, in which each operation must be performed separately. The system can be called a hybrid because the patient must manually enter the planned schedule of nutrition and require the introduction of insulin.
The system is convenient to use, mobile and fits in your jeans pocket. At the same time, it has been experimentally proved that the novelty helps to stabilize blood sugar levels: in adolescents - from 7.7% to 7.1%, in adults - from 7.3% to 6.8%.
The positive results of the study led to the fact that the technology was approved by the FDA ahead of schedule. Therefore, already in 2018, the system will enter the market and, undoubtedly, will simplify the life of people who suffer from diabetes. Experts are confident that the success of this development will accelerate the emergence of a similar product for patients with type 2 diabetes.
Neuromodulation for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea
The traditional method of treating apnea, CPAP, has side effects: unwanted noise, pressure intolerance, mask irritation, claustrophobia, nasal congestion, dry mouth and much more. About 40% of patients say that in a dream they involuntarily take off their masks.
The neuromodulation system is devoid of these disadvantages.
Already on sale, you can find an implant that stimulates the respiratory muscles during sleep. Such a system is a respiratory sensor and a wire for stimulation with a battery. It is controlled using a remote control. During a person’s sleep, the system monitors his breathing and stimulates his tongue and throat to keep his airways open. Minimally invasive surgery is used to implant the device. Clinical trials have shown a significant decrease in the apnea-hypopnea index, a marker of the severity of sleep apnea and oxygen desaturation.
The new neuromodulation system is expected to become the main treatment for OSA and will help millions of people suffering from such sleep disorders.
Record in decreasing LDL cholesterol
An excess of “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins, LDL) in the body causes atherosclerosis - circulation through the arteries in the heart, brain, kidneys, and limbs is difficult. The results are deplorable: stenosis of the carotid artery, peripheral vascular disease, angina pectoris, chronic renal failure, cardiac ischemia take many lives every year.
Scientists and doctors have been struggling for decades with an increase in LDL cholesterol. So, in 1986, the first statin was approved. These drugs block the enzyme that the liver uses to make cholesterol. And recently, scientists have developed the first inhibitor drug for patients with a genetic predisposition to increase the level of "bad" cholesterol and intolerance to statins.
Studies have shown a record decrease in LDL levels - up to 75%, with no serious side effects. Such treatment reduces the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, and stroke by 20%.
Remote monitoring of health and treatment at home allows you to quickly and timely provide assistance to the patient. Thus, it is convenient to monitor the condition of patients who have recently undergone surgery, seriously ill and infirm people. This greatly saves time and money.
Over the past few years, such a remote treatment system has been tested. Mobile technologies play a special role since most modern people do not let their smartphones out of their hands. And first of all, this is a two-way video connection between the patient and the doctor, as well as remote monitoring of the state of the body using the attached devices. The patient can contact the doctor at any time and get an express consultation, and the doctor, for his part, can monitor the patient’s vital signs online and provide timely assistance if necessary.
Next Generation Vaccination
Recent outbreaks of the Ebola and Zika epidemics have shown that we cannot afford to look for vaccines for the disease over the years. To reduce the scale of such epidemics, it is necessary to accelerate the development of vaccines and simplify their delivery. In 2018, the relevant authorities will do this.
In recent years, the world has learned how to quickly develop influenza vaccines. Now research is conducted using tobacco plants, insects and nanoparticles, rather than chicken eggs, as before. These new methods not only save time but are also cheaper than before.
To simplify delivery and extend the shelf life of vaccines, manufacturers use lyophilization (dry freeze). This allows you to deliver more vaccines to epidemic sites and extend their shelf life.
Statistics show that millions of people refuse vaccination simply because they do not like injections. Therefore, scientists are also developing oral and intranasal vaccines.
These new methods for the manufacture, delivery, storage, and administration of vaccines can prevent or at least reduce the number of epidemics and specific diseases in the world.
Targeted Breast Cancer Therapy
Nowadays, a real war has begun with breast cancer. The main types of treatment - chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation - are very effective, but they also have negative aspects. Therefore, doctors and patients have dreamed of targeted therapy for years. For several years, there are drugs from the class of inhibitors for the treatment of leukemia, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer. In 2018, breast cancer will also be treated in this way.
Now, BRCA1 / BRCA2-positive people (who are genetically predisposed to ovarian and breast cancer) have hope. The BRCA1 / BRCA2 proteins are expressed from the corresponding BRCA1 / BRCA2 genes in the tissues of the mammary glands and other organs, where they help repair DNA damage or destroy cells in which DNA repair is not possible. Chemotherapy often damages cancerous DNA, but BRCA genes can repair chromosomes using poly (ADP-ribose) polymerases (PARP). Studies in 2017 showed that patients with breast cancer who were taking a PARP inhibitor had a remission of seven months; if only chemotherapy was used, remission lasted only four months. This gives us hope that cancer treatment will reach a new level soon.
Breast cancer cell growth is associated with an excess of the HER2 protein. Oncology of this type is often not amenable to traditional methods of treatment. But thanks to targeted therapy, positive results have been achieved, especially in combination with chemotherapy. One study showed long-term remissions in several patients who received combination treatment.
There is good news for patients with ER-positive / HER2-negative breast cancer. In 2018, three new inhibitors for this type of oncology will appear on the market. Experts believe that all these advances in the field of molecular targeted cancer treatment will help to completely abandon chemotherapy in the future.
Cooling against hair loss after chemotherapy
People with cancer have a lot to go through. One of the unpleasant effects of chemotherapy, especially for women, is hair loss. New technology has appeared in the United States that helps combat this problem.
The scalp cooling system has proven effective for women who are undergoing adjuvant or neoadjuvant chemotherapy in the early stages of breast cancer. During the experiment, helmets with coolant inside were used. Experts suggest that cold-induced cutaneous vasoconstriction and decreased biochemical activity help reduce the susceptibility of hair follicles to damage.
During the study, women wore a cooling helmet 30 minutes before, during and 90 minutes after chemotherapy. Intermediate results showed that 50.5% of patients did not lose their hair. Whereas without the use of a helmet, hair loss is observed in 100% of patients.
The scalp cooling system is not suitable for everyone and can only be combined with certain types of chemotherapy. However, in May 2017, it was approved by the FDA.
Centralized patient monitoring
A study by the American Heart Association found that 44% of inpatient heart attacks were not detected on time. Consequently, almost half of patients do not receive timely care.
Centralized monitoring will save the lives of millions of people with heart attacks. As part of the study, modern equipment was used, including sensors and high-definition cameras to control blood pressure, heart rate, heart rate, breathing, pulse optometry, etc. When it detects dangerous signs, the system gives a signal. In the first 13 months of trials involving 100,000 patients, the system detected and signaled in 79% of heart attacks.
After these studies, the program was improved and allowed to double the number of controlled patients per specialist, improve clinical results and reduce response time.
Experts predict that in 2018, a system called the all-seeing eye will be implemented by many hospitals around the world and save the lives of millions of people.
Express recovery after surgery
For decades, the procedure for preparing for the operation and the postoperative period remain unchanged: refusal to eat before, the use of painkillers and bed rest after. These recommendations were considered the best way to avoid complications.
However, several medical centers have set about developing an accelerated recovery program after surgery (UVPO). The essence of the technique is as follows: to limit the number of opioids (alternative drugs are prescribed instead, multi-modal analgesia is used), the patient is recommended a postoperative plan of nutrition and exercise. Recent studies and experiments have shown that UVPO reduces complications and promotes rapid recovery after surgery. Patients feel better, they quickly pass symptoms such as nausea, muscle atrophy, infection is less likely, and they are more likely to be discharged from the hospital home.
According to another study involving 9,000 patients, the complication rate after surgery was reduced by a third, with the number of opioids used being 21% less than usual. Another study, reported in the journal of the American Medical Association, showed a decrease in mortality in patients with resection of the colorectal region. When using UVPO, patients usually return home within 2-3 days after surgery.
In 2017, in the United States, surgical organizations and large healthcare systems began to collaborate to attract funding and train hospitals who want to introduce the new system on a larger scale.
Gene therapy against hereditary retinal diseases
In 2018, the FDA is expected to approve the use of gene therapy.
At the moment, there are no effective methods of treating hereditary retinal diseases that cause vision loss. An example of such a pathology is some form of retinitis pigmentation. Most often, this disease affects adults. A malfunction occurs, due to which the photoreceptor cells begin to die, which leads to night blindness and a decrease in the radius of the field of view. Over time, complete blindness occurs.
To solve this problem, scientists and doctors hope to use viruses or vectors to deliver the necessary genes to the right cells. In particular, it is contemplated that the use of the recombination AAV2 vector encoding a functional copy of the RPE65 gene will be approved.
In 2017, the FDA granted RPE65 gene therapy the status of medicine for rare diseases, and in October a group of U.S. health advisers recommended approving these innovative approaches.