Medicine is an ever-evolving and ever-moving field, but when medicine, biology, and technology come together, doctors can help patients in ways that may never have been possible before.
Here are four technologies that are changing the face of medicine and giving hope to millions of patients across the globe.
RNA Targeted Therapeutics
As with many things in biology, if you can get the body to do the job itself, the result is likely to be much better than anything that is man-made, and this is the finding with the new-style mRNA vaccines that use RNA targeted small molecules.
RNA targeting is incredibly clever and exciting for biologists because it can effectively teach the body how to make a protein (or even just a small part of a protein) that the body can then use to regenerate cells and trigger an immune response.
This is particularly exciting for vaccine production because it is so easily adaptable and highly effective when used correctly.
Skin and Bone Integrated Implants
When it comes to issues such as osteosarcoma (bone cancer) tumours and amputations, options have traditionally been quite limited for humans and animals.
For a few decades now, specialists have been using titanium osseointegrated implants to replace limbs or strengthen bone structures within the body to help animal patients that have had to have surgery due to cancer or trauma.
Thanks to initiatives like the One Health movement, this technology is slowly coming across to the human world and could present a great alternative to the bulky and uncomfortable prosthetics that are used today.
Stem Cell Regeneration
As it stands at the moment, if you were to have the cartilage in your knee or other joint removed, there would be few real options available for you, and your risk of arthritis would be highly increased.
But thanks to stem cell research, emerging technologies are now allowing doctors to regenerate and grow cartilage and other tissue right inside the body, and the technology to do this is getting cheaper every year.
With more research in this area, it’s possible that a routine surgery for a torn cartilage may include cartilage regeneration to bring the limb back to full working order rather than just palliative care to reduce pain.
The market for health-based wearables has exploded over the last decade and with good reason. Checking the number of your daily steps is a good way to see how much movement you are doing and whether or not you’re putting in enough exercise.
Even more exciting for doctors and primary healthcare practitioners is the implication of this for overall health, especially with devices such as the Mi Band 6, which is inexpensive but able to accurately measure both heart rate and steps along with blood oxygen and even stress levels.
Patients who use a health tracker device are more likely to take note of their health and notice changes, and this leads to better communication between physicians and patients to give a wider picture of the overall health of both patients and the population at large.