Transplants, Stem Cell Therapy, Nanotechnology and More
New Clinical Studies
New clinical studies promise great strides in 2012 from improved procedures for transplants to the development nanotechnology. New clinical medical research has made advances in transplants, stem cell research, treatment of spinal cord injuries, early warning for asthma attacks, easy diagnosis of Sjorgren’s Syndrome, oral cancer diagnosis, plus vascular and heart surgery.
One of the best new technology discoveries is medical applications for phones and now there are over 5000 medical applications.
- Physicians will have the ability to download a CAT scan, MRI, lab work, etc.
- Patients will be able to use the medical app on their phone to look at their lab work results, as well as, other tests.
- Physicians can communicate with other physicians, while both have access to lab studies
- Communication between the physician and patients will be enhanced
- Communication between doctor’s offices and insurance companies will improve.
HealthTap is a new program launched two days ago using the smart phone, which allows a person to get in touch with an expert physician for free. This mobile application will enable patients to contact America’s best doctors 24/7 and receive personalized health information to find the best care available. The patient will be able to make better decisions about their health and well-being.
What is a Nanostructure?
Nanostructures are material structures assembled from a cluster or a layer of atoms that are thinner than a strand of hair but have great strength. They are being used for implants in bone surgery and as a contrast agent for several clinical medical imaging modalities.
Professional athletes, amateur athletes and people with degenerative diseases with worn out joints will benefit greatly with these new methods. Another important use will be for people with osteoarthritis, a disorder with an estimated economic impact of $65 billion in the United States and it will grow with an active and aging population.
Spinal Cord Repairs
Another amazing project is being conducted at Northwestern University. Dr. John A Kesler is the principal investigator of clinical studies to repair damaged spinal cords. The University is the first to design a bioactive nanomaterial, which promotes the growth of new cartilage in vivo, without the use of expensive growth factors.
There is no conventional therapy that can achieve this result. This also prevents the formation of scar tissue, which can inhibit spinal cord healing following surgery. They stimulate the body to regenerate lost or damaged cells.
Researchers have been successful in growing nerve cells using a three-dimensional network of natural nanofibers. The implications for patients with spinal cord injuries are phenomenal with this new technology.
Although bone grows back, cartilage does not regenerate, therefore, methods to regenerate this tissue are important. Northwestern has a gel that is injected as a liquid to the area of the damaged joint where it's self-assembles and turns into a solid form.
Stem Cells for Vascular Surgery
Stem cell therapy is being utilized in several areas of research. One area of clinical medical research involves biomedical engineering using stem cell-based tissue to develop replacement blood vessels. The stem cells actually assemble into blood vessels. Northwestern University is also doing cardiovascular regenerative medicine.
When this technique is completed a patient having open-heart surgery will no longer need to have veins harvested from their legs for vascular grafts. Stem cells are also used as a treatment for patients with peripheral vascular disease.
Another fascinating area of research is being conducted using your saliva. The UCLA School of Dentistry has received a $2.8 million grant to support their research.
Biology professor David Wong is a pioneer in the use of saliva for diagnosing oral cancers and other diseases. The focus is on mouth head and neck cancers by standardizing a saliva-based test for these diseases.
In addition, the saliva test also can diagnose Sjogren's syndrome, which has been difficult to diagnose and is generally poorly understood. This simple, noninvasive test results in a diagnosis within minutes.
Saliva Test for Oral Cancer, UCLA
Early Asthma Diagnoses
Asthma is another disease where the use of nanotubes has been used to develop an early warning system to detect and prevent asthma attacks. The University of Pittsburgh is completing clinical trials research. Carbon nanotubes have been around for 20 years, but their use in medical technology is fairly new.
They are light, flexible but 50 times stronger than steel, which makes them ideal for nano-detectors. This ideal material is extremely small, which allows tiny sensors to be manufactured that do not use much power. A watch battery is adequate to run them for years. Ultimately, there will be several types of devices for patient use. The FDA has approved the process.
In the UK a phone prototype has been developed for children with asthma. All of these devices work by analyzing a person's breath measuring nitric oxide (NO) in exhaled breath and also oxygen. People with asthma have elevated levels of nitric oxide and their breath compared to healthy people.
These devices predict the level of inflammation and when the asthma attacks are likely to occur. This knowledge will save lives as an asthma attack can be treated before it develops into a full-blown attack that will require hospitalization or even cause death.
This article lists a few of the phenomenal new advances in clinical studies. This certainly makes the future brighter in the treatment of multiple diseases with early detection and new cures for they didn't exist before.
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