Medical Innovations for 2016

On The Quick

Medical Innovations for 2016

Cleveland Clinic highlights healthcare advances

By Working Nurse
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Each year, Cleveland Clinic, an Ohio-based nonprofit medical center, compiles a list of the 10 medical innovations that are likely to shape healthcare over the coming 12 months. The therapies on this year’s list aren’t without controversy, but their potential is enormous.


1.    Vaccines to prevent public health epidemics. 

The recent Ebola epidemic in some African nations and the outbreaks of bacterial meningococcus in the United States have spurred unprecedented cooperation and speed in the development and testing of new weapons in the fight against disease epidemics.

2. Genomics-based clinical trials. 

The combination of new targeted therapies and genetic profiling is helping to more quickly connect patients to promising clinical trials while increasing the chances that patients will benefit from the therapies being studied.

3. Gene-editing technology using CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, a type of DNA) to selectively delete or rewrite genetic code. While current applications focus mainly on preventing or fighting disease, that only scratches the surface of the technology’s many exciting (and potentially terrifying) possibilities.

4. Water purification systems. 

The World Health Organization says that 10 percent of all disease in the world can be attributed to unsafe drinking water. New technology may help to prevent sewage contamination of drinking water, which currently kills over a million children under the age of 5 each year.

5. Cell-free fetal DNA testing. 

New types of genetic testing allow more accurate prepartum screening for fetal diseases like Down syndrome. 

6. Cancer screening via protein biomarker analysis. 

This new testing protocol can detect cancer based on proteins in the patient’s blood, potentially allowing earlier detection.

7. Naturally controlled artificial limbs. 

Prosthetics have existed for centuries, but recent advances are making it possible to create limbs that can be controlled by the same neural impulses that control biological limbs. That’s good news for the more 100,000 Americans living with upper extremity amputation and the millions hindered by paralysis.

8. First treatment for HSDD (female hypoactive sexual desire disorder). The drug, called flibanserin and sold  by Sprout Pharmaceuticals under the brand name Addyi, received FDA approval in August.

9. Frictionless remote monitoring. 

Your patients who hate needles will be happy to hear that wearable technology may soon reduce the need for routine blood draws. Instead, sophisticated biosensors can measure and monitor factors like glucose levels without ever breaking the skin.

10. Neurovascular stent retrievers. 

Inserted via a catheter, these wiry devices can physically remove blood clots, greatly improving stroke patients’ chances of survival and recovery.   


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