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Ten Recent Medical Breakthroughs to Get Excited About
We all hope to be part of a generation that discovers incredible cures for illnesses, especially ones that have taken so many from us. In the last handful of years, there have been some amazing medical breakthroughs that might have been missed when good news was harder to come by. All over the world, scientists have been working hard to produce cures and advance knowledge about diseases that have been around for as long as humanity.
From cures for cancer and neurological diseases to growing body parts in a laboratory and successfully transplanting them into human tissue, the list is long and impressive but not exhaustive. Artificial intelligence will be the next wave of medical marvels. You’ve heard it here first, folks!
10 Ten Neurodegenerative Diseases Could Be Controllable
The Halberd Corporation in Pennsylvania made a breakthrough in February 2022 in the way neurodegenerative diseases are treated. By removing glutamate from cerebral spinal fluid, they demonstrate that they can control disease-associated antigens from the top ten diseases in this field of medicine. Some examples of the diseases this discovery could impact are PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), traumatic brain injury, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and other neurodegenerative conditions.
The techniques used by scientists all help to ultimately produce healthy brain function. William A. Hartman, Halberd’s Chairman, President, and CEO, said, “This breakthrough will give hope to the 36 million Americans annually, and the millions more around the world, suffering from some form of neurodegenerative diseases.”
9 Potential Cure for Stage IV Melanoma Cancer
In April 2020, Australian scientists at the Melanoma Institute significantly reduced the number of deaths from stage 4 melanoma, often called “Australia’s cancer.” The patient with stage 4 melanoma is usually looking at a death sentence of six to nine months, but after immunotherapy treatment at the Melanoma Institute, 50% of patients are living long enough that, scientifically speaking, they can be considered cured. Immunotherapy uses the patient’s own immune system to fight the cancer and has been compared to the ground-breaking effect of the discovery of penicillin by Associate Professor Menzies.
In Australia, it is estimated that more than 1,700 people die from melanoma each year. The immunotherapy focuses on three drugs in particular: Keytruda, Opdivo, and Yervoy, the unique combination of which has changed the game for those enduring stage IV melanoma. Scientists say the next steps are to discover why 50% do not respond to immunotherapy and to learn whether the treatment can help other cancer types.
8 TETA Treatment Possible Cure for Children’s Cancer
Tests on mice at the Children’s Cancer Institute in New South Wales, Australia, have used a treatment called TETA to shrink tumors by 40%. This reduction has led to a doubling of the expected lifespan of these mice, all using an affordable medication that already has approval for human consumption as the medication most often used to treat Wilson’s disease.
Wilson’s disease causes a build-up of copper in the liver. The findings led by Dr. Vittorio also report possible success to be made with other cancers like breast, pancreatic, and lung cancer. The treatment for neuroblastoma, which is responsible for 15% of all childhood cancer deaths with a 50% survival rate, “feeds” on copper that has built up in the body. Essentially, removing the copper allows the body to “see” the tumor, allowing the immune system can fight it.
7 Premature Babies with Chronic Lung Disease
Babies who are born prematurely with chronic lung disease were given the Hobart Method: a far less invasive approach for delivering surfactant to babies in a small tube in the windpipe to aid breathing. The method was developed by Peter Dargaville of the University of Tasmania after many years of trials. In December 2021, the findings were published after many years of work in 33 neonatal hospital neonatal units in 11 countries in total.
The specific lung disease they were trying to prevent is called bronchopulmonary dysplasia, which happens when a newborn’s lungs are improperly developed in the womb or if the baby is born too early and the lungs become inflamed. A follow-up project is underway to ascertain what the long-term effects are of treating the babies with surfactant.
6 Vaccine for Brain Tumor ups Survival Rate by 5 Years
There is a vaccine for brain tumor patients that can double the five-year survival rate, a result that we have been waiting decades for. King’s College Hospital in London has shown that 13% of patients who received the vaccine were still alive after five years, while the control group showed 5.7%. This is the first time in almost two decades that any improvements in research into aggressive glioblastoma have been made. Even patients with a poor prognosis were seen to have prolonged life expectancy through the vaccine, including older patients for whom surgery was not a viable option.
Immunotherapy is used in treatment by helping the body attack cancer cells and recognize them as such. Each patient has their very own vaccine made up for them by analyzing their immune cells, known as dendritic cells. They work by capturing the cells and allowing the immune cells to destroy them.
After the dendritic cells are removed from the body, they are mixed with biomarkers from the tumor, which, when injected back into the patient, share the information with the immune system to attack the tumor. The medical team wants to trial the vaccine with other types of cancer and drug combinations.
5 Improved Imaging and Sensing Techniques
Circulatory diseases can be detected more easily with specialist imaging and sensing techniques. Neurovascular imaging, creating pictures of the smallest blood vessels in the body, is being researched at Coventry University’s Centre of Intelligent Healthcare. The research will discover how circulatory systems can affect early-stage diseases like diabetes, autoimmune conditions, cancer, and artery aging. Using different light colors, they can see blood flow, composition, and temperature, which can help with diagnosis. The procedure is non-invasive as well as cost-effective.
Armed with this information, the team hopes to detect new ways to treat Reynaud’s phenomenon, where the fingers and toes change color when a person becomes anxious or cold. Having Reynaud’s phenomenon can indicate more serious problems that can affect the internal organs.
4 Specially Designed Dressings for Hidradenitis Suppurativa
A former chef has helped to develop special dressings to manage the incurable symptoms of hidradenitis suppurativa (HS). Suzanne Moloney, the founder of HidraMed Solutions, has designed adhesive-free dressings that fit a range of specially designed underwear. Her Irish company won the Irish Times Innovation of the Year Award in 2021 to help the 4% of the world’s population who suffers from HS.
The lesions and abscesses are found in the armpit, thigh, and groin, and they need regular dressings that won’t leak, fall off, or move around. Often the adhesive in other brands of dressings can cause more harm than good in their application and removal, and the process can be very painful and stressful. People with HS can often find themselves at risk of social isolation, depression, and anxiety over the stress of living with the condition. Moloney created fashion-forward items with discreet pads and fastenings, like crop tops, tee shirts, and boxers.
3 Successful Transplant of Lab-Grown 3D-Printed Ear
A woman born with a condition known as microtia has undergone a successful 3D-printed “living” ear transplant. While made with human skin cells but 3D printed in a lab, the transplant is the first of its kind in history. Microtia is a condition where the ear is underdeveloped or missing when born. American scientists used existing cells from her ear tissue that became the “bio-ink” to create the new ear, meaning that the body is less likely to reject its own cells.
Without 3D printing, microtia is treated with implants or surgery that can be invasive as rib cartilage is extracted. The surgery is performed on children born with this condition. The lead physician, Dr. Bonilla, said, “I am inspired by what this technology may mean for microtia patients and their families.”
2 Two Stories of HIV Cures
A woman who was cured of HIV after stem cell treatment has become the third person ever to be cured of AIDS. The case was also the first to use umbilical cord blood, which may make the treatment more readily available. She was treated for leukemia in the marrow and, following treatment, has been in remission for 14 months without needing antiretroviral therapy, which is used in HIV treatment.
Another 2022 story reports that a vaccine has been developed that can activate the immune system and cure AIDS. Gene editing has been used by researchers at Tel Aviv University to create a vaccine that neutralizes the virus. It does this by engineering-type B white blood cells to activate the immune system to produce antibodies that neutralize HIV.
1 British Army Tests Remote Surgery Communication Tech
Technologies are being tested by the British Army that could mean soldiers wounded thousands of miles away in the field could potentially receive life-saving surgeries by doctors operating using augmented reality glasses. “Project Lara” explains that under typical battle circumstances, more junior medics work further forward while more senior medics work further back, looking after patients in a wider area. The junior medic may, in fact, need more communication aid than the senior one. But, unfortunately, the closer to danger you are, the worse communication can be.
The purpose of Project Lara is to ensure junior medics have appropriate information and specialist advice when they most need it. A specialist can wear the Microsoft HoloLens 2 augmented reality glasses and aid a medic in the field on a task they do routinely, follow the surgery, and offer help and instruction when needed.