Gene Therapy, ‘Medical Chips’ Top Advances Predicted for 2018

computer-chip-world

This will be the year of the “medical chip.” That’s the prediction of leading health expert Dr. Michael Roizen, chief wellness officer at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic and a regular Newsmax Health contributor.

“We will be using more computer chip technology or silicon chips to improve health whether internally to communicate with an insulin pump or externally like the new sleep apnea device,” he says.

“We will be seeing vast improvement and efficiency in emergency rooms and clinics all over the world using chips to monitor patients’ vital statistics instead of poking and prodding them. A team of physicals in one central monitoring area, like a ‘command central,’ will be able to evaluate hundreds of patients at a time in hospitals — even around the world — using chip technology.”

Chip advances are just one of several up-and-coming technologies and advances in the medical field predicted by the Cleveland clinic for 2018. Each year, the clinic convenes a panel of physicians and scientists — led by Roizen — to identify the next big things in medicine.

Here are some of the panel’s top picks for 2018, along with other medical innovations we can expect.

Gene therapy: This year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve a new gene therapy treatment that targets cells in the body through viral “vectors” to provide visual function in some patients with forms of retinitis pigmentosa and Leber Congenital amaurosis.

The advance marks the latest in a series of breakthoughs in gene therapy that have emerged in recent years, from new medications that target gene defects to diagnostic tests for heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Genetics are expected to be a major focus of medical research in the year ahead.

Immunotherapy for cancer: Several critical recent developments in using immunotherapy techniques that enlist the body’s own natural defenses to fight cancer are expected to make greater strides in 2018.

“Treatments are being developed using antibodies to disrupt the tumor’s shield, so that your own immune system can attack,” says Dr. Joanne Weidhaas, director, Division of Molecular and Cellular Oncology at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.

“We are also working on treatments where we take cells out of your immune system, reengineer them and return them to fight the cancer.”

Hybrid insulin delivery system: Hailed as the first artificial pancreas, the hybrid closed-loop insulin delivery system helps make Type 1 diabetes more manageable. It was approved by the FDA in 2016 and the market for the product is expected to be officially launched in 2018 as more patients demand the technology.

The new technology replaces the “open loop” system that requires diabetics to use the information from their continuous glucose monitor to determine how much insulin to inject. A chip allows direct communication between the glucose monitoring device and the insulin pump to ensure stabile blood glucose at an unprecedented level, says Roizen.

Wearable patch for apnea: Sleep apnea, the most common sleep disturbance in the country, impacts 21 million Americans and can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. While continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices are the gold standard of treatment, it is estimated that almost half sleep apnea patient refuse to wear them.

Companies are now marketing an implant that delivers direct stimulation to open key airways during sleep. It is controlled by a wearable patch that works like a pacemaker and has had positive results in clinical testing.

“These neuromodulation systems are predicted to help deliver a better night’s sleep to more patients and spouses nationwide,” says Roizen.

Telemedicine: Roizen heralds the emergency of telemedicine technology as one of the greatest life-saving advances.

“Removing geographic barriers to health care can result in timelier, more efficient and more optimal outcomes as well as significant cost savings,” he says.

Telemedicine, also known as “distant health technology,” can enable care for both the physically challenged and those most vulnerable to infection. It’s predicted that over 7 million patients will use telemedicine technologies in 2018 — a 19-fold increase from 2013.

Pointer study for Alzheimer’s disease: The Alzheimer’s Association will launch a $20 million U.S. two-year clinical trial to test the ability of a multi-dimensional lifestyle intervention to prevent cognitive decline and dementia in2, 500 older adults at risk for cognitive decline.

This important study comes on the wake of the breakthrough Alzheimer’s Association International Conference held in 2017 pinpointing the important of lifestyle changes in preventing and delaying Alzheimer’s disease.

Surgical advance: In 2018, the MasSpec pen will undergo clinical trials that may allow surgeons to analyze tissue during surgery to determine on-the-spot whether tissue is healthy or cancerous, increasing the success of such operations. (Click to Source)

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