Medical Advancements of 2018

Robot touching computer screen
3D rendering 3D illustration medical artificial intelligence robot working in a future hospital.

There is an expression termed Moore’s Law that states that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles about every two years. What this means in layman’s terms is that the processing power of computers increases 100% every two years; hence, modern science has become the benefactor of this continuous increase of power. And medical technology is no stranger to this occurrence.

For as long as the human race has existed, we have been fortunate enough to have people who dedicate their lives to the well-being of others and when you combine these heroes of science with the ongoing medical breakthroughs, we have seen remarkable advancements in medicine in 2018.

As 2018 has come to an end, we think it is fitting that we spread the news of the notable advancements this year has brought us.

An Incredible Breakthrough with Cancer Vaccine

Illustration of Distance Perception

In February 2018, the researchers at Stanford University announced that they’ll begin testing their new cancer vaccine. The medical team led by Dr. Ronald Levy came up with a novel cancer therapy that managed to work its wonders on mice. When injected with it, all traces of cancerous tumors in mice were eliminated.

Like Dr. Levy said, “Our approach uses a one-time application of very small amounts of two agents to stimulate the immune cells only within the tumor itself.”

The vaccine includes immune-stimulating agents that are strong enough to kill cancerous cells in mice. This test result was extremely positive, and it was time to test it on humans.

15 Lymphoma patients are currently being treated with this vaccine.  If this incredible shot works, it could be the end of Lymphoma cancer as we know it.

A Strategy to Lower LDL Cholesterol

For decades, medical researchers have been fighting tooth and nail to lower LDL cholesterol levels and save people from the number one killer of Americans – heart disease.

They came up with statins that were effective, but not effective enough. However, in 2015, the researchers were able to come up with PCSK9 inhibitors. These new drugs were able to attack the nasty LDL particles in the extracellular fluid.

When medical practitioners came up with the strategy to pair statins with PCSK9 inhibitors, it showed mind-blowing results. It saw a decrease in LDL levels by 75%. To control the LDL levels, the drug was also made more accessible to the common masses.

In 2018, trials and tests began to find out the ideal LDL level to prevent heart disease. With that figured out, and with a way to reach that level, treatment for heart disease doesn’t seem too far off in the horizon.

Discovery of Scalp Cooling to reduce Hair Fall after Chemotherapy  

It takes an incredible amount of courage and strength to fight a disease like cancer. Anything that could be done to help the patients fight it with even more is always encouraged.

One of the nastiest side effects of chemotherapy is extreme hair loss in patients. In 2018, researchers discovered that reducing the temperature of the scalp right before, during, and after chemotherapy is an incredibly effective method to preserve hair in patients.  

Gene Therapy for Retinal Disease

Another groundbreaking advancement in medicine this year was the approval of gene therapy by the FDA in 2018 –more specifically, gene therapy for inherited retinal disease.

This therapy delivers new genes in the targeted cells of the body and treats inherited blindness. In March 2018, a 13-year-old boy was the first patient to receive this treatment for his inherited blindness called Luxturna.  The update on the patient, Jack Hogan, is that he has better vision in low light, he can play basketball outside in the evening with his friends, he can go to the movies, and he can even read 40 percent in smaller print.

This is just one patient who saw a drastic change in his life because of this medical advancement in 2018. We can safely say that there will be many more in the years to come.

New Vaccines for a Large Population

2018 has seen rapid development in the production of new and improved vaccines. These vaccines with innovative mechanisms have made it possible to deliver them to a vast population.

The medical modernizers are working on edible, oral, and mucosally delivered vaccines. They are also coming up with vaccine chips and intranasal vaccines.

All these innovations are making it easier and possible for the vaccines to be stored, shipped, and delivered to patients regardless of the complexity of the situation.

Artificial Ovaries

After chemotherapy, many women are at risk of becoming infertile. For that reason, they remove their ovaries— partially or completely— before the treatment.

After the treatment, they get it transplanted back. However, the returned ovary often carries traces of cancerous cells in it, putting the patient at the risk of contracting the disease again.

The latest research in 2018 has seen progress with artificial ovaries. The Danish scientists, with the help of technology, have come up with a way to grow ovarian follicles on an engineered portion of the tissue. This tissue only contains proteins and collages and all the cancer cells are removed.

The mice have already accepted these artificial ovaries successfully and humans will be tested as well in the next few years.  

Marijuana for Epilepsy

Discount Medical Marijuana cannabis shop, Denver, Colorado
Discount Medical Marijuana cannabis shop at 970 Lincoln Street, Denver, Colorado

Non-administered use of marijuana is still as dangerous as before. However, medical researchers were able to discover that it helped treat two rare forms of childhood epilepsy.

Groundbreaking news was the approval of Epidiolex by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This drug is derived from cannabis, but it does not contain the psychoactive component of marijuana that makes people use it for recreational purposes.

These are just some of the medical advancements of 2018.  All these minor and major medical advancements give hope to patients and are one of the reasons why medical researchers around the world are always hard at work.