What if you could anticipate the next big breakthrough in medicine for the upcoming year? Tantalizing, isn’t it?
Unveiling the future of medical technology before it happens is the magic behind the Top 10 Medical Innovations presented annually by the Cleveland Clinic.
For nearly 10 years its annual Top 10 Medical Innovations recognition program has made some pretty accurate predictions. The process by which these medical innovations are selected is rigorous; it takes advantage of the accumulated knowledge of 150 world class physicians from 17 different clinical research institutes at the Cleveland Clinic. As you might expect, the clinician’s track record in this selection process is impressive. The recognized innovations have almost always had the type of clinical impact predicted and often this impact is felt within the predicted time period. In fact, they track each innovation that’s recognized and provide progress reports to further validate their previous designations. Visit this link for a full review of the Top 10 Innovations from 2007-2014.
As a Global Business Development Manager for Life Sciences at Parker, I am highly interested in the advances of medical technology. As our markets grow so do our opportunities to partner with innovative customers that support our focus on solving some of the world’s greatest engineering challenges. These medical innovations promise to do just that while making a positive impact on many lives. To learn more about our efforts, visit our medical technologies page.
So let’s take a peek at a few of the Top 10 medical innovations for 2014. The two that interest me the most are based on the human biome, those 10 trillion bacteria that live in and on us. Ranking at #9, TMAO Assays uses the product of intestinal bacteria digestion as a biomarker for cardiovascular risks such as stroke and heart attack. Note that the biomarker is the result of bacterial digestion, not human cellular digestion. Ranking at #6, the second innovation, fecal microbiota transplantation, uses the rich mix of living organisms typically found in a healthy human to restore gastrointestinal balance in those patients suffering from Clostridium difficile, or CDiff, infections.
These two innovations represent a major milestone in medicine. For the first time, the human biome is being used as tool in diagnostics and therapy. Advances in DNA sequencing technology have created the new field of metagenomics that investigates whole microbial communities harvested form natural environments, so I expect to hear much more about microbiome-based medicine in the future. You can learn more at about the Human Microbiome Project at The Commonfund - National Institutes of Health.
The #2 innovation, genome-guided solid tumor diagnostics, ushers in a new age of cancer diagnosis. A variety of genomic-based cancer tests are currently available that, without surgery, can analyze the genes in a person’s tumor and predict both the biology and the aggressiveness of the cancer. The tests offer the potential to reduce unnecessary cancer treatments (and their side effects) and deliver more targeted, efficacious therapies. It is the beginning of the era of true precision medicine that has its basis in biology.
Finally, the #1 medical innovation for 2014 is…the retinal prosthesis. This novel retinal implant system allows people to reclaim their independence by being able to perform day-do-day activities. It is a game changer in sight-affecting diseases and represents a huge step forward for the thousands of people who had been without any available options for treating their blindness.
For all the turmoil in the healthcare business environment, it’s helpful to take a step back and appreciate that we are all living through a time of groundbreaking technological change that, taken together, are helping us live longer, healthier lives.
Article provided by Arun Ranchod, Global Business Development Manager - Life Sciences, Parker Hannifin
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