24 Jun 3 Incredible medical innovations that not everyone knows about
Overall, 2020 has been a tumultuous year. From a health perspective, it’s been turned upside down by a deadly global pandemic changing how we live our lives and relate to others.
The Covid-19 pandemic has justifiably dominated headlines and attention from the media, policymakers and health officials alike.
- The year of genetic coding
Almost every expert the Healthline website interviewed agreed that gene editing was one of the big stories of the year.
In October, Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors (only five women have previously been awarded this prize).
- Breakthroughs in heart disease and stroke research
Recently, the American Heart Association released its own list of innovations in medical treatments.
The spotlight includes a new phase 3 study that could change the way hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (when the heart muscle thickens and can stiffen) is treated.
It also highlights new treatments that might change up the first-line treatment for atrial fibrillation (AFib) — a new minimally invasive surgery to prevent strokes and a new trial that reveals more treatment might not necessarily mean better treatment for coronary heart disease.
- Oncology advances: from preventive techniques to targeted therapies
Benjamin Neel, MD, PhD, director of the Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Health, said 2020 has been a year that’s seen cancer research push forward on multiple fronts.
He said technologies are in development for early detection of cancer through blood tests.
“It’s been known for quite some time that tumours release DNA into the blood stream. We have technology developing from the standpoint of monitoring tumours, conducting tests for tumours, tests for recurrence of cancers and protein-based tests,” Neel said, outlining current research.
He also cited technology that modulates the regulatory DNA sequence patterns — which refers to the part of the DNA molecule that can change the way a gene expresses itself in a living thing — to pinpoint when methylation patterns might point to the development of cancer.