Every day scientists and doctors work together to find ways to make our lives better. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the medical field. If you need further proof of this, think of all of the strides that have been made in just the last ten years alone.
Ten years ago, getting diagnosed with HIV was a death sentence. Today it is a treatable condition. HPV was barely talked about and now there is a vaccine for it. The human genome has been completely (albeit roughly) mapped. So with how far we’ve come, where are we almost ready to go?
Stem Cell Research
While the politicos are debating the moral imperatives of whether or not stem cell research is ethical, researchers have used stem cell research to restore the sight of mice that were blind before receiving treatment. Stem cell research is helping doctors better treat stroke victims, people suffering from cancer and heart disease and arrhythmias and is showing that ALS might be treatable after all.
Fetal, Embryonic and Umbilical stem cell research has been a subject of heightened moral debate but this research has proven that stem cells can be used to cure diseases like ALD, Leukemia and to prove that regenerative medicine is actually possible.
Antibody research has come such a long way that now there are whole antibody companies that specialize in both supplying antibodies to research and medical facilities as well as doing the research themselves. Monoclonal antibodies have been used in cancer research. It turns out these antibodies tell the immune system to find and attack cancer cells by attaching themselves to the cancer cells so that the immune system knows that the cells are abnormal and must be destroyed.
Since the year 2000, medical research has led to a 40% reduction in cardiovascular-related death rate. Medical research in this field has led to clot busting drugs like Lipitor, Crestor, etc—all of which are used to slow down atherosclerosis (or the building up of plaque in the arteries which can lead to heart attack and stroke).
A recent study by scientists at the UCSF Medical Center points to a specific cancer gene mutation in the BRCA family being evident in women who go into menopause earlier in life. On average, women who carry these gene mutations stop menstruating three years before those who do not have the mutation. This type of study can help doctors screen women for things like breast and ovarian cancer before they begin showing signs of cysts, tumors or ovarian failure. This early detection can often be what saves a woman from having to undergo procedures like mastectomies and hysterectomies. Early detection and treatment could save some women’s entire reproductive capabilities.
These are just a few of the areas of research that are helping to make a difference in our medical futures. We’ve come a long way in the last ten years. Who knows how far we will be able to go in the next ten.
Article by – Jenna Smith