2016 Top Medical Innovations

For the past ten years, Cleveland Clinic has produced its annual listing of the ten most powerful medical innovations for the coming year.  Here, in order of anticipated importance, are Cleveland Clinic’s Top 10 Medical Innovations for 2016:

1.  Rapid Development of Epidemic-Battling Vaccines. Researchers are developing effective vaccines faster than ever to prevent epidemics, an effort given new urgency by the 2014 Ebola epidemic in Africa and of bacterial meningococcal outbreaks in the United States.

2.  Genomics-based Clinical Trials. Genetic profiling offers new hope to people suffering fatal diseases (e.g. cancer).  Genomic-based tests may increase the speed and flexibility of clinical trials and guide desperate patients to the most promising experimental treatments.

3.  Gene Editing Using CRISPR. Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) can identify and remove bad genes from a DNA strand for as little as $30.  This inexpensive gene editing technique is being adopted in labs everywhere.

4.  Water Purification System. A new kind of waste treatment plant may offer an affordable solution converting human waste into clean drinking water while also generating electricity to run the machine.

5.  Cell-free Fetal DNA Testing. Studies show that Cell-free Fetal DNA Testing more accurately predicts Down’s and Edwards’s syndromes than standard blood tests and ultrasounds.

6.  Cancer Screening via Protein Biomarker Analysis. Protein biomarker analysis focuses on changes in the structure of certain proteins circulating in the blood.  In contrast to examining genetic mutations, which can indicate the risk of cancer, the new tests give real-time information on cancer’s presence.

7.  Naturally Controlled Artificial Limbs. In recent years, researchers have discovered that neural signals associated with limb movement can be de-coded by computers, leading to computer-controlled artificial limbs.  Researchers are working on making brain-machine interfaces safer and cheaper with lower-cost robotic components.

8.  First Treatment for HSDD. In 2015, the FDA approved flibanserin, the first medication designed to treat female hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).  HSDD is the loss of sexual desire in premenopausal women.

9.  Frictionless Remote Monitoring. Frictionless remote monitoring devices in development include a bandage that reads sweat molecules to diagnose pregnancy, hypertension, or hydration.

10.  Neurovascular Stent Retrievers. A neurovascular stent retriever inserted into the body of a stroke victim through a catheter and threaded through the blood stream seizes a blood clot and removes it, resulting in speedier recoveries and improved chances.

More about these innovations and about the Cleveland Clinic Innovations can be found here.

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