In last few decades, our world has changed immensely. It has been possible because of the advancement in technologies and new innovations being brought up every day. Healthcare sector has also seen immense changes over past few years with new technologies and innovations being introduced. These innovations have helped the healthcare sector evolve a lot. The treatment has become much more convenient and faster with technological advancements. The most important change has taken place in the diagnosis part of the healthcare sector. MRI,XRAY etc all these technologies are used in diagnosis of the problem in a person. Let us look at some of the innovations in healthcare sector in past few years.
1) The use of gene therapy technology to treat blood cancers such as leukaemia is one of the most exciting medical developments in recent history. Recent experiments have revealed the potential for gene therapy to be used in reversing other types of cancers, such as breast cancer. There’s some promise that gene therapy could one day be used to eliminate the need for traditional treatments such as radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery. In March this year, gene therapy was used to cure a teenage boy with sickle cell disease, showing the potential for this therapy to be used to combat common genetic diseases as well.
2) The field of cancer therapies has also seen some breakthroughs, with a better understanding of cancer fingerprinting. Cancer fingerprinting is a new approach to analysing how specific cases of cancer react to different treatments. Every incidence of cancer has a unique fingerprint or identity code and cancer fingerprinting allows medical staff to analyse the mutated genes of tumours and understand how sensitive particular cancers will be to different types of chemotherapy.
3) Serelaxin, a synthetic version of the hormone relaxin, has been shown to boost survival rates in these patients by 37 per cent. The drug opens up the blood vessels and has an anti-inflammatory impact on the system. This comes as a great news for heart patients as it will change the outlook of patients towards hospitalisation in case of heart diseases.
4) Faecal transplants have been used to successfully treat people infected with C.difficile, which is a type of infectious diarrhoea responsible for around 15,000 deaths each year. Faecal transplants involve the removing good bacteria from a healthy person’s faecal matter and transplanting it to the patient’s colon. While the idea of taking someone else’s faecal matter into your own body may seem off-putting, the process has the potential to save thousands of lives.
5) Hepatitis C is a potentially fatal disease that causes 12,000 deaths every year. Around 30 per cent of people cannot be cured, and those who are cured undergo a heavy anti-viral-drug treatment program that lasts for nearly a year and is associated with major side effects. A new drug, Sofosbuvir, could help patients avoid the extended treatment period and improve the rate of people cured from Hepatitis C. The drug has a 95 per cent cure rate and a treatment program lasting only 12 weeks.
6) In 2010, the first completely new synthetic cells were created by Dr J Craig Venter, who is known for being one of the first to sequence the human genome. The cells were created by stitching together chemicals to synthesise the full genome of a bacterium. This could open the way to new treatments in synthetic biology that could have applications in a range of industries, from bio-fuels to healthcare.
7) The emergence of superbugs makes discovering new antibiotics more critical than ever. The discovery of the first new class of antibiotics in 30 years was therefore welcomed news in the medical field. This new type of antibiotics, known as teixobactin, can kill serious infections such as tuberculosis and septicaemia without encountering resistance. It could eventually be used to treat drug resistant infections caused by the superbug known as MRSA.
These few developments only scratch the surface of the incredible medical breakthroughs that have occurred and may all the developments that we have made till now are just a small fraction of the advancements that we can actually make. So we should never halt our curiosity. Research should be carried out continuously in order to find new breakthroughs to improve people lives by improving the healthcare facilities that they get. Innovations must be encouraged instead of ignoring them. Let us hope for more advancements and changes in technologies so that the world will become a better place to live.