Major medical advancements in 2017

Advancements of technology has allowed scientist and individuals to attain many beneficial and crucial medical advancements that will shape the future and allow for more endless possibilities to be discovered. Here are a few of the many developed this year:

1. Growing organs in a petri dish to help treat cystic fibrosis
A 53 year old patient known as Els van Der Heijden with cystic fibrosis took part in a medical advancement that has reshaped the medical world. At first doctors were confused as this patient was not benefiting from the expensive well known medicine she was taking and so therefore the doctors were hesitant to try an even more expensive drug as it had not been proven to work in people with the rare type of cystic fibrosis that Van der Heijden had. Instead of doing this the doctors effectively scraped some cells from the patient and grew a mini version of her large intestine in a petri dish in order to test the effectiveness of the drug. So far, doctors have grown mini guts – just the size of a pencil point – for 450 of the Netherlands’ roughly 1 500 cystic fibrosis patients.

2. Lymph-node transplant surgery in South Africa a success

A man suffering from Lymphoedema and an advanced skin cancer in South Africa has received successful reconstructive surgery. Lymphoedema is a common painful side effect of cancer and cancer treatment. At Life Vincent Pallotti Hospital, surgeons successfully performed a novel vascularised lymph node transfer. This procedure is done on small blood vessels to treat Lymphoedema and will now be able to benefit many individuals.

3. Lab-grown skin saves boy dying from rare genetic disease

A young boy in Germany with a rare genetic disease called epidermolysis bullosa was on the verge of death as this disease had destroyed 60% of his skin and had made it extremely fragile and thin. With the use of stem cells and gene therapy, doctors were able to engineer a fully functional skin for the boy. This made him the first individual in the world to receive a skin transplant of this magnitude. This advancement and operation has allowed doctors and scientists to understand and develop the potential of this specific technology.

4. HIV eliminated from mice

A study first published in the journal of Molecular Therapy stated the important breakthrough in regards to HIV. HIV is the human immunodeficiency virus which is estimated to affect around 37.7 million people in 2016. With the use of CRISPR (gene editing) therapy, scientists discovered that they could successfully cut out the HIV virus from mouse cell. In the time span of a few years scientists are hoping that this discovery could lead to a possible breakthrough with the cure of the disease in the hopes of improving the condition of many individuals’ lives.

5. The first robot-assisted super-microsurgery

Surgeons from the Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands executed the first robot-assisted super-microsurgery. The robot stitched vessels as small as 0.3 mm to treat lymphoedema in a patient. It’s a delicate procedure but the robotic assistance made it go without a drawback.

Sources I used: (30/12/17)

Let’s wait and see what 2018 has to offer!

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