Science in the 2010s: Medicine
Dec 26 2019 Read 1579 Times
The past decade has seen some major advances for the medical industry, from cancer vaccines to CRISPR technology. Read on for a glimpse of the most memorable highlights.
2010 - Cure for Hepatitis C
Every year, Hepatitis C causes around 400,000 deaths around the world. In 2010 human trials started on a breakthrough medication called Sofosbuvir, which offered a 12-week treatment program that blocks the action of proteins and enzymes that support the virus.
2012 - CRISPR
In 2012, biologists Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna proposed CRISPR-Cas9 enzymes be utilised to edit genomes. This sparked the advent of the revolutionary gene-editing tool known as CRISPR and empowered scientists with the ability to modify DNA and genes. From managing malaria outbreaks to growing agricultural crops, CRISPR is one of the most significant scientific breakthroughs of the decade.
2013 - 3D printed body parts
In 2013 researchers at Cornell University took 3D printing beyond consumer goods and branched out into human body parts. They successfully printed an outer ear that functioned and resembled the real thing. Later in the year researchers from the University of Pennsylvania printed 3D blood vessels. By 2020, San Diego based company Organovo is planning to print human livers.
2015 – Face transplant procedure
Following a severe facial injury, American firefighter Patrick Hardison thought he would be left scarred and deformed for the rest of his life. In 2015 surgeons at the NYU Langone Medical Centre carried out the most advanced face transplant in history, using 3D modelling to replace ear canals, bones and other elements of the face.
2017 - Gene therapy
2017 was a landmark year for gene therapy, with scientists harnessing the technology to treat diseases like cancer. Instead of treating the symptoms, gene therapy allows scientists to modify DNA to treat cancers like leukemia and breast cancer.
2018 – Cancer vaccine for mice
Stanford University made headlines in 2018 when a team of researchers announced they had successfully eliminated cancerous tumours in mice with a vaccine. "I don’t think there’s a limit to the type of tumour we could potentially treat, as long as it has been infiltrated by the immune system," said Ronald Levy, MD, senior author of the study and Professor of Oncology at the Stanford Health Centre.
2019 - Blood test for breast cancer
Breast cancer claims more than 11,000 lives a year in the UK, though thanks to a new blood test developed by researchers at the University of Nottingham, experts are expecting the figure to fall. The test detects autoantibodies and could allow doctors to diagnose breast cancer as early as five years before a lump appears.
Want to know more about the latest medical breakthroughs? Don't miss 'A New Approach – Concentration Measurement of Bases and Acids using a Refractometer' which spotlights the latest technologies from Austrian based company Anton Paar.
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