For Christmas, here are some of the top medical breakthroughs in 2012:
- Drugs called sodium-glucose cotransporter inhibitors—or SGLT2 inhibitors—were approved this year by the Food and Drug Administration for managing diabetes risk and treating type 2 diabetes. SGLT2 inhibitors are the first diabetes medications that don’t directly affect insulin. Instead, these drugs reduce blood glucose levels directly, as well as helping promote weight loss.
- According to a study completed this year, CAT scans can be used in early detection of lung cancer. Early detection can increase the cure rate more than eightfold, and CAT scans have proven significantly more effective than x-rays in finding signs of the cancer when the disease is in its earliest stages. Low-dose CAT scans are also safer in general, less likely to cause damage to tissue when looking for disease, and so regular screening is safer.
- Genome analysis for newborns became widely available this year. Modern computers and techniques mean a process that used to take months, far too long to be useful in many cases, now takes a mere two days. That means that infants at risk for—or already showing signs of—genetic diseases can be diagnosed quickly and given appropriate treatment right away.
- The second lab-grown trachea ever was created this year. Adult stem cells were allowed to grow on a bioengineered frame at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden to replace the windpipe of a patient who’d lost it to cancer. This is an advance over the first lab-grown trachea, which used donor tissue as the scaffold. Researchers say similar techniques show promise for other lab-grown organs. By using the patient’s own cells, doctors avoid the risk of transplant rejection.
Happy holidays from your friends at Medex Supply.