Health of the Future: New Antibiotic, Smart Prostheses and other Discoveries
THE ROLE of SCIENTIFIC PROGRESS IN MEDICINE is DIFFICULT to OVERESTIMATE: even one new drug is able to make a revolution and save millions of lives. Over the past hundred years, birth control pills have been created, scientists have deciphered the genetic code of a person, and doctors have learned to transplant organs and perform operations under a microscope. Summing up the year, we understand what has happened in medical science and how it will affect our lives.
New Antibiotics for the First Time in Thirty Years
Resistance of bacteria to antibiotics is the most important medical problem, which requires drugs with new mechanisms of action. Last year for the first time in thirty years, was discovered a new antibiotic Teixobactin — extremely effective, particularly against tuberculosis. It inhibits the synthesis of substances necessary for bacteria to build their own cells. This year, Novomatic received a grant to develop a version for oral administration in order to start clinical trials in the near future. At the Rockefeller University in 2016 with the help of genetic material has created two new antibiotic, Hemomycin A and B, with a similar principle. They are believed to make bacteria resistant to antibiotics of previous generations vulnerable again. However, while their effectiveness has been demonstrated only in studies on mice.
New Drug Against Radiation Sickness
In 2011, twenty-five years after the Chernobyl disaster, the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant once again reminded the world of the terrible consequences of radiation. High doses of ionizing radiation lead to failure of almost all organs and rapid death. The only treatment currently available is a complex and expensive bone marrow transplant. Israeli company Pluristem created from the cells of the placenta the drug is PLX-R18, in which animal testing resulted in a complete cure of acute radiation sickness. The tool has not yet been tested on a person, and it is too early to talk about success, but it can be a real breakthrough. Perhaps now it will be enough for a couple of days after exposure to radiation to make the victim an intramuscular injection — and he will be safe.
Dressing to Quickly Stop Bleeding
The last couple of years, Israeli doctors have developed a “smart” bandage WoundClot, allowing you to quickly stop even heavy bleeding. Upon contact with the blood molecules, which impregnated the bandage, form a dense adhesive gel. According to manufacturers, the bandage allows to control even arterial bleeding and its actions are enough to start the natural processes of blood clotting. Due to the low cost (about $ 10), this tool can help to save huge sums on emergency operations. So far, the product has been provided for use only by medical personnel. Perhaps, soon will emerge and house option and the next generation children will first adhere to broken knees not leaves plantain, and such gel gnomes.
Immunotherapy of Malignant Tumors
The idea to force the body’s natural defense systems to fight cancer has been in the air since the time of Hippocrates, but only in the XXI century the development of immune drugs managed to do seriously. In October 2016, in the United States, the innovative drug Keytruda (pembrolizumab) was registered for the treatment of an extremely dangerous disease — non-small cell lung cancer. The drug increases the chances of not developing the disease by 50 % compared to chemotherapy. In other studies, pembrolizumab increased to 40% the survival rate of patients with melanoma, usually leading to one hundred percent mortality. It should be understood that we are talking about means that really stimulate immune processes, as opposed to the available over-the-counter immunomodulators, devoid of any effectiveness. In addition to developing an army of immunotherapeutic drugs, scientists have gone further and engaged in genetic engineering of immune cells to fight cancer.
Breakthroughs in the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis
In a large-scale study of thirteen years in twenty-four patients with multiple sclerosis (the most frequent, recurrent form), it was possible to not only stop the development of the disease, but also to make many symptoms reversible. Among the patients there are those who started walking again and even skiing, returned to work and study, started a family. Treatment includes the extraction and freezing of immune cells, the complete destruction of the immune system by chemotherapy, and then its building “from scratch” their own preserved cells. Unfortunately, this method is fraught with serious risks: in the study one patient died and several had to provide emergency assistance due to liver failure. Its prospects are not yet clear. But for another form of multiple sclerosis (primary progressive) in February 2016 was first registered drug with proven activity — Okrelizumab: it significantly reduces the number of relapses and the risk of disability.
Control of Prostheses by the Power of Thought
The most important task of those who are engaged in prosthetics is to help the patient feel the prosthesis as naturally as possible and manage it as a real part of the body. There is a technology by which information is sent from the implant, implanted in the motor cortex of the brain, to the computer, and from there — to the robotic prosthesis. But its complexity is that the information a person has to send fragments: for example,” reach out”,” unclench your fingers”,” squeeze your fingers around the Cup ” — and all this in order to take the Cup from the table.
Scientists at the California Institute of technology went the other way: they connected a robotic prosthetic arm of the patient with the Department of the parietal cortex, responsible for the intention to do something, not for the action itself. As a result, a person paralyzed for more than ten years, became capable of a quick handshake and even a game of “stone, scissors, paper.” At the moment, the system has been tested with only one patient, and the creators hope that over time it will allow many people deprived of limbs, to gain independence in such everyday matters as brushing teeth or drinking from a glass.
Metformin has been used for more than fifty years in patients with diabetes mellitus. It is a safe drug that significantly reduces the risk of cardiovascular complications, the leading cause of death in people around the world. In the United States began a study, the authors of which believe that Metformin can counteract various processes of aging. Among them, chronic low-intensity inflammation, cell decay, damage to DNA and protein structures, loss of stem cell functions. We are not talking about extending life to a conditional one hundred and twenty years, but about improving its quality, directly related to health. The authors of the study note that it is not necessary to engage in drug prevention of aging until its effectiveness is proven, and say that even the presence of such a drug does not negate the need to lead a healthy lifestyle.
The same results for bioprinting tissue of internal organs
The company Organovo by printing on a three-dimensional bioprinter managed to create a three-dimensional human liver tissue, which in the experiment even transplanted animals. Bioprinting can revolutionize the way new drugs are developed, speeding up the testing process, because toxicity and efficacy need to be studied in living tissues. Perhaps this will reduce the amount of research on animals and provide more accurate information about the effects of drugs in the early stages of development. In the future, 3D printing may even become a source of tissues and organs for transplantation. There is talk about the possibility of reconstruction of the destroyed tissues directly in the open wound and the potential application of the method in cosmetology.
Filling that Treats Caries
British (and what else) scientists have tested the new material for seals. It is a bioactive composite that releases fluorine, calcium and phosphorus atoms. This seal helps to restore the surrounding hard tissues of the teeth (enamel and dentin), and also forms an alkaline environment, interfering with the life of dangerous bacteria. It is not yet known how resistant this material will be and whether the reverse side of bioactivity will be the fact that the seal will eventually just dissolve. Be that as it may, no method of treatment can not be compared in effectiveness with the prevention of caries. In many countries in Africa and Asia, the prevalence of caries in adults is lower than in developed countries. Experts attribute this to the difference in food habits, namely the consumption of sugar.
Cure for Baldness
A study was conducted in which twelve patients with average or severe baldness caused by alopecia areata, received a new drug rukolaine. It suppresses Janus kinase, an important enzyme whose activity increases in autoimmune processes, including focal alopecia. After three to six months of treatment, 75% of patients recovered to 90% of their hair. Unfortunately, after the withdrawal of the drug, the effect was reversible and hair loss resumed. A more significant drawback of Roksolana — side effects: weakened immunity, it increases susceptibility to infections and other diseases. In addition, it is important to understand that against age-related baldness, not associated with autoimmune diseases, ruxolitinib will not be effective.