Sitting in the queue in the clinic re-opened paper card (because the old one was lost), it is difficult to believe that medicine is one of the most rapidly developing fields. And yet it is so. In 2018 invented and experienced so many things, which rejoices heart and soul sings. And how many will be in 2019!
Alexander Morozov — practitioner, science popularizer and author of the blog “a Collector of the future.” He is well-versed in the latest medical research, experimentation, and scientific breakthroughs. We asked Alexander to make a list of the most important, in his view, the discoveries of last year. Also see what to expect from this year.
Top medical achievements of 2018
1. Transplantation of bioengineered lung pig
Summer American doctors announced the successful laboratory experience in the cultivation and transplantation of bioengineered lungs. Simplified it looks like this: the animals took to their cells and out of them grew the lungs. Organs transplanted four pigs. Experience has shown that light perfectly stuck and did not seriously trouble their hosts.
Those are the easiest. Photo: Telegraph
Attempts to grow lung cells were made long ago, but scientists are faced with a serious problem — these organs are poorly supplied with blood due to poorly developed vasculature. However, with the new method this was avoided.
Engineered organs will allow a person to change body parts as needed, and the risk of rejection can not be afraid. Before that, however, is still far, but the results are encouraging Americans.
2. The birth of the first genetically modified children
At the end of the year, the world had spread sensational news — the Chinese Professor declared the birth of world’s first genetically modified children, girls Lulu and Nana. Thanks to the doctors now they are safe from HIV infection because babies have an innate immunity to a terrible disease.
After the statement of Chinese doctors was followed by a series of events for which it is possible to remove any spy Thriller. In the end, many do not believe in the accuracy of the experiment.
The picture is illustrative. Source: dekhnews
— China is a very unusual and interesting country in which (unlike, for example, from America) there is no hard ethical constraints regarding genetic experiments. Technological barriers to genome editing no. The only snag is ethics. But thanks to gene, humanity will be able to forget at least on hereditary diseases, — says Alexander.
3. The first cloning of healthy human primates
A long time ago (by medical standards), “the authors of” Dolly the sheep claimed that when people learn how to clone monkeys, to human cloning will not remain obstacles. Of course, in addition to ethical.
And now — a breakthrough. And again from China. In the early years in this country have successfully cloned a couple of primates. Earlier similar experiments also took place, but all cases ended with the death of monkey due to serious complications with their health. This time with the Guinea pigs all right, disease don’t complain and not going to die.
Photo: La Stampa
Conducted the experiment, scientists are not averse to clone a human through the years, so six. It seems to prevent them can only fierce resistance the rest of the world, preoccupied with the moral side of the question.
4. Implantation of the intervertebral discs grown goat
Intervertebral disks are between the vertebrae layer, which is responsible for shock absorption during running and walking. Irregularities in their work are one of the common causes of back pain and neck. In severe cases, people cannot even breathe without severe pain.
Now hold a surgery for fused vertebrae and implantation of artificial prostheses. However, both methods lead to the limitation of man. The decision for re-engineered implant.
Photo is illustrative. Source: Askideas.com
The Americans raised the intervertebral disc cells of a goat and planted it. It is a large animal, the spine of which is in size comparable to a human. In the end, the goat showed no signs of mobility limitation. Spine as good as new! Great result, but the experiences with people far away.
5. Immunotherapy of multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a terrible disease, despite the name having nothing to do with the so-called senile sclerosis. The bottom line is this. To give a command to a particular movement, the brain nerve fibers sends impulses. For the same fibers impulses going to the brain, whereby we perceive the external world. The pulses have to run very fast for the processes of the neurons are wrapped in a special fatty tissue — myelin sheath. If the signals are passing at a speed of 1 m/s, 100 m/s.
In multiple sclerosis the myelin sheath is destroyed by the immune system. The cause of the disease is not yet reliably established but it is believed that it has something to do with the virus Epstein-Barr. Immunity probably wants to deal with this virus, but for some reason attacks the myelin sheath. The patient has reduced visual acuity, disturbed coordination, loses sleep, there are various mental disorders.
Development of symptoms may be slow, but in General, the disease is still considered incurable. It “is”, because in November, scientists reported encouraging results immune therapy aimed at the destruction of Epstein-Barr in the nervous tissue. People who participated in the study, not just stopped the development of multiple sclerosis — the disease began to retreat!
— It is believed that when humanity will beat cancer, the last Bastion will remain autoimmune — the most complex and difficult disease treatment. And now it turns out that immunotherapy, in principle, can affect autoimmune diseases. This is a huge breakthrough, which previously could not dream!
6. Nobel prize for a new principle of cancer treatment
Cancer remains a scourge of humanity. Today cancer does not sound like a death sentence, but there is a chance that a terrible misfortune will soon be removed permanently.
In October it became known that the Nobel prize in medicine was deservedly awarded to American James P. Allison and Honjo, Japanese Tasuku. Read more about their discovery can be read here. In short — scientists have learned to “trick” cancer cells that after treatment not able to prevent the immune system to destroy them.
Image source: Quanta Magazine
The discovery was made in 1990-ies. For a long time the scientific community was waiting for such a landmark event will be merit-based. And so the Nobel Committee gave. It is a kind of recognition that immunotherapy for cancer has really made revolutionary changes in okolicsanyi.
— I’m sure in 10 years we are waiting for a medicine that we with horror will remember in 2018 and wonder how we ever could live. In Belarus, in my opinion, such treatment will be available in 3-5 years.
7. The treatment of Parkinson’s disease using stem cells
Parkinson’s usually affects older people. Bent figure, tremor, slow walk with small steps — it can be one of the obvious manifestations of the disease. Most often it occurs after the death of certain neurons responsible for producing dopamine, which plays an important role in transmitting signals between brain cells.
In November, Japan announced the beginning of trials of the treatment of Parkinson’s disease using stem cells. Previous animal experiments have shown that the introduction of a certain part of the brain stem cells leads to their transformation into neurons that are producing dopamine.
Today, the symptoms are successfully suppressed by implanted electrodes. However, it is quite dangerous and not always predictable operation
And now the time has come people. The Japanese conducted a similar procedure on seven patients with parkinsonism. It remains to wait for the results, but the doctors are encouraged. They believe that it will be not about the oppression of the symptoms, namely a complete cure and eliminate the causes of the disease.
— In the 1990s there was a similar technique, but had not yet learned how to “clean” stem cells. As a result, the experiments led to disastrous consequences associated with cancer. The Japanese took into account the shortcomings and now the promise of treatment without complications. By the way, in Belarus this year will be a similar study.
8. Edit the genome for the treatment of hunter syndrome
Hunter the disease occurs due to improper metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. Such patients have a specific appearance — coarse facial features, rare teeth, thick skin, low voice. They are often ill SARS.
Male with hunter syndrome. Source: realpatientsspeak.com
In 2017, scientists have altered the human genome with signs of hunter syndrome. Alas, the experiment to improve failed. However, a year later, the technique of treatment modified, and clinical trials were much more successful. Currently, they continue.
9. The creation of the first “body on a chip”
Imagine this scene: lying on the Desk computer circuit Board with a mess of different human tissues. Looks so-so, but for the entire healthcare industry — pleasant and important novelty.
In the spring the Massachusetts Institute of technology introduced the so-called “body on a chip” — set applied to the circuit cells of different organs (brain, lungs, liver, heart, uterus, intestines, kidney, pancreas, skin, skeletal muscle).
Why is it necessary? All in order to study the effect of new drugs on different organs. For example, scientists will be able to make sure that the heart medicine will not affect the liver and kidneys. All the information is in real time displayed on the computer attached to the chip.
10. Testing anti-aging drugs
Aging is one of the main “problems” of humanity. One of the leading experts in the field of gerontology is a Brit Aubrey de grey, author of the concept of the SENS (“strategies to achieve negligible senescence engineering methods”). Scientist has identified seven types of damage that lead to the characteristic for the elderly diseases — atherosclerotic, cardiovascular, Alzheimer’s and so on. It is believed that influencing each of the seven damages, the mankind will learn to slow down the mechanisms of aging and even to rejuvenate the body.
Aubrey De Grey. This guy knows a lot about the rejuvenation. Photo: PRLog
Clinical trials within the concept of SENS are long. Among them are stem cell transplant. But another important step is the destruction of senescent cells, which are also known as cells-zombies.
The normal life cycle of all cells completed apoptosis — programmed self-destruction. However, some of them self-destruct mechanism does not work. Such particles two ways: some begin to divide uncontrollably and develop into tumors, while others freeze in a certain current state. The first finds and quickly destroys a healthy immune system. But the cell-zombies secrete some biologically active substances that poison the neighboring healthy cells. Senescent cells accumulate with an early age, and eventually lead to various inflammatory processes and age-related diseases.
From the last century doctors test and study sinaitici — a variety of drugs that destroy and deducing from an organism of cells-a zombie. In 2018 in the United States finally began testing these “drugs of old age” on people. Zeolitic introduced into the cavity of a patient with osteoarthritis of the knee. Comprehensive anti-aging effect in this way can not be achieved, but at least it will be visible to pinpoint the effectiveness of drugs.
What to expect from 2019
In the coming year will continue a great number of studies — all of them are not listed. Alexander identified five interesting and significant events.
1. Treat the flu in one day
It is expected that this year will go on sale in the Japanese drug that can cure flu in a day. Drink one tablet and flu virus in the body is gone! A license for distribution of miracle drug has already received the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche.
But there is a caveat. Medicine and the truth almost immediately kills most of the flu viruses. However, the human body still triggers the immune response to infection, so symptoms can not be avoided — within five days, in fact, a healthy person will sneeze and suffer from a high fever. But you can not worry about infecting others, and the symptoms will manifest easier.
2. Pills instead of exercises and gel for contraception
This year will be large-scale testing of gel for male contraception. Rubbing it into her shoulders and hands — and, no kids! This method promises to be safe and without lasting effect. Also in 2019 will start testing tablets that can replace physical exercises. One pill instead of an hour workout in the gym? Why not!
3. Goodbye, Alzheimer’s
Another senile disease, for treatment which firmly took doctors. Here they will begin clinical trials in humans of a technology that can restore the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid. It is expected that this will help in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. In any case, tests on animals have shown amazing results with a complete restoration.
4. Patches heart
The Japanese are planning to begin human trials of the so-called patches on heart. Stem cells will be applied on a frame and then placed on the affected areas of the heart (e.g. myocardial infarction). Expected full recovery of damaged tissues.
5. Advanced robotic limbs
Currently, even the most futuristic prostheses read the motion with the remainder of the muscles. In 2019 we should see the first artificial hands, which will be managed directly through the nervous system. The possibilities they will be a minimum yield of natural limbs.
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