Never before has the world been so captivated by the most ordinary steps of scientific research. But, over the last two years, each incremental step forward in science—from lab research to better understand COVID-19's development and build a vaccine to combat it, to clinical trials, to pharmaceutical approval—has meant one thing: hope. That's what our list of the finest health breakthroughs of 2021 focuses on.
Best Innovations of 2021 in Medical Science
Here are the top ten innovations that the world has seen in the field of health and medicine.
Gene Therapy to Cure Haemoglobinopathies
Hemoglobinopathies are hereditary illnesses that impair the structure or synthesis of the hemoglobin molecule, which is the red protein that transports oxygen throughout the body. Sickle cell disease and thalassemia are two of the most prevalent hemoglobinopathies. Each year, more than 330,000 infants are born throughout the globe with these illnesses. In the United States alone, more than 100,000 people have sickle cell disease.
As a consequence of the most recent study into hemoglobinopathies, experimental gene treatment has been produced. This treatment should allow persons with thalassemia to produce functional hemoglobin molecules, reducing the presence of sickle blood cells or inefficient red blood cells. It will be able to avoid the difficulties linked with these conditions in this manner.
Cure for Primary Progressive Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune illness in which the immune system assaults the nerve fibers' protective fatty myelin layer. This assault causes issues with communication between the brain and the rest of the body, which may lead to irreversible damage, degeneration, and death.
Approximately 15% of MS patients acquire a main progressive form of the illness. This subcategory of the illness is characterized by a consistent progression of signs and symptoms and a gradual development. The first and only therapy for MS in the primary-progressive MS population is a new therapeutic monoclonal antibody authorized by the FDA with a unique target.
Easier Cancer Detection Process
The key to battling cancer is early diagnosis, yet just a few procedures (Pap smears, mammograms, lung exams, and colonoscopies) can identify cancer at its most treatable stages. That's why a new technique that scans a blood sample for DNA fragments from more than 50 different cancers is causing such a stir.
The Galleri test notifies a clinician whether a patient has a sickness signal and which organ it originates from. The test helped detect 29 individuals who didn't realize they had malignancies of the lung, ovary, rectum, neck, breast, and pancreatic, among other cancers, according to preliminary data from a clinical study involving 6,000 people over 50.
Fertility Testing Innovation
Home fertility tests have been available for a while, but most only test for one hormone in the urine. The new OVA tool, which is endorsed by Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, measures two to better define your "do it now" timeframe. The first, luteinizing hormone, is produced before the release of an egg, whereas the second, progesterone, is released shortly after ovulation. The precision of tracking both of them increases to the point where it approaches that of blood testing.
Pacemakers give electrical impulses to the chambers of the heart muscle to contract and pump blood to the body in order to prevent or correct arrhythmias. Traditionally, these implanted devices have allowed for remote monitoring through a console at the bedside that sends data to the doctor in charge of the patient's care.
Despite the fact that millions of people utilize these devices, many still don't comprehend how they operate. Connecting these devices to a smartphone app would help patients to acquire a better knowledge of their cardiac therapy while also sending important data to their physicians.
Pharmacological inhibitors disrupt proteins called PARPs that help repair damaged tumor DNA in persons with mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes and are well-known for their effectiveness in women's cancer. Two of them have been found to slow the growth of prostate cancer in individuals with refractory disease and DNA repair pathway abnormalities.
Several surgeons led a huge team to execute the world's first successful trachea transplant, offering hope to patients throughout the globe and future therapies for people on ventilators. Although it seemed to be a simple object at first glance, since it looks like a tube, it turns out to be a very complicated organ system.
Hepatitis C Cure
Hepatitis C, dubbed a "hidden epidemic" by the CDC, is one of the most serious public health issues in the United States. Cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer are all severe concerns for anyone infected with the virus, and they may all be fatal.
There are medications available to treat the disorder. However, they have been shown to be ineffective in certain genotypes of the disease or to have unfavorable side effects in others. A new FDA-approved treatment option, a fixed-dose combination of medications, has been demonstrated to be more than 90% successful in treating hepatitis C, making it a viable choice for a broader number of patients.
Artificial Intelligence for Human Health
The Mount Sinai Health System has launched the first-of-its-kind Artificial Intelligence in the Human Health Department, led by Thomas Fuchs, DSc, and Dennis Charney, MD, Dean of the Icahn School of Medicine. According to Dr. Fuchs, "If you're serious about this, you'll need computer scientists to collaborate with doctors on the front lines. One of the critical reasons why big tech has failed in health care is that you can't simply toss artificial intelligence over the fence into a hospital and expect it to function. It must emerge from systems like ours."
COVID Impact Reduction
The impact of COVID on everyday functioning lasted at least a year in those who had it for a long time. "Our study, as well as those of others, has shown that this has an effect on people's capacity to organize, process information, and do their daily work obligations," Dr. Putrino continued. "They suffer significant memory loss and an inability to form new memories, as well as speaking problems."
With the pandemic still looming, a spate of major and modest health achievements occurred in 2021, including the use of ground-breaking CRISPR gene-editing technology, the World Health Organization's approval of the first malaria vaccine, and novel cardiac therapies. In the medical area, there are many more inventions to unbox in the next year.