Predictions for health breakthroughs for 2018

Cleveland Clinic’s Medical Innovation Summit held from October 23 to 25 in 2017 revealed the following predicted therapeutic and technological advancements for our new year of 2018.

The Wall Street Journal’s December 26, 2017 publication also agrees with the first four topics listed below:

  1. An arsenal of targeted breast cancer therapies. Different inhibitors for specific breast cell mutations are now having positive clinical trials’ outcomes. These drugs attack specific pathways in cancer cells. The trial results point to an increased survival rate, and perhaps, the eventual end of chemotherapy for large numbers of breast cancer patients.
  2. The unprecedented reduction of LDL/bad cholesterol through new drug combination breakthroughs. A five-year trial now following 18,000 high-risk cardiac patients hopes for the future cooperation of drug and health insurance companies to lower the present astronomically high pharmaceutical costs.
  3. The development of the next generation vaccination platform. With the beginning of a very bad flu season already begun, it appears that this year’s vaccine was not a good protective match and possibly inadequate for the current circulating flu strain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are now working on new ways of shipping, storing, and vaccinating for influenza. A bandage-sized patch will be used for vaccination this year.
  4. Advances in genetics-based medicine. Drug companies and researchers are continuing to get their trials into actual usage especially to save lives and increase the quality of lives. These medical personnel are using gene editing with a technology that acts like molecular scissors that cut and edit DNA (the molecules that carry genetic instructions for all known living organisms and some viruses). This past December, a therapy was approved to replace a faulty gene in people with retinal dystrophy causing blindness. A more controversial topic of embryo genetic makeup will surely be open to future ethical question discussion.
  5. A diabetic hybrid closed-loop insulin delivery system. The world’s first artificial pancreas was approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in late 2016. Now, a new technology advancement enables direct communication between the continuous glucose monitoring device and insulin pump to stabilize blood glucose at an unprecedented level.
  6. Neuromodulation to treat obstructive sleep apnea. With 40% of sleep apnea patients not preferring to use their sleep masks, medical companies are now marketing an implant that delivers stimulation to open key airway muscles during sleep. Controlled by a remote or wearable patch, this technology acts like a pacemaker. It helps synchronize air intake with the action of the tongue using a breathing sensor and a battery-powered stimulation lead.
  7. The emergence of distance health. To bring aid to the physically challenged and those most vulnerable to infection, hospitals are now getting ready for the widespread adoption of telehealth. Many more patients will become equipped with detachable remote portable devices that monitor their physical condition from afar.
  8. Enhanced recovery after surgery. With the current discussion on the dangers of opioids, more medical facilities are now prescribing multi-analgesic approaches to controlling pain, thus limiting the use of narcotics. Eating before surgery, regular walking after surgery, and a post-operative nutritional program are also modern approaches to dealing with pre and post-surgical needs.
  9. Centralized monitoring of hospital patient. Due to the din of noisy monitoring machines found in and around hospital nurses’ stations, it isn’t surprising that three out of four coronary patient room alerts are not answered by medical employees leading to unnecessary deaths. Computerized monitoring centers outside busy health center corridors are expected to drastically improve the outcome of these desperate calls for help.
  10. Scalp cooling (of a few degrees) for reducing chemotherapy hair loss.

In addition to the above health stories to watch, look for discussion of New Migraine Injectable Drug Treatments and the CDC’s Program for the Necessary Containment of Emerging Cases of Superbugs.

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