We at Curofy thought of sharing some of the major medical breakthroughs of 2015 with you. Some of these medical advancements will surely affect the way you practice medicine in the new year.

1. Dengue vaccine in India

The world’s first dengue vaccine CYD-TDV was tried on Indian adults and the vaccine was found to be “safe and immunogenic in Indian adults.” Researchers found that the vaccine gave more than 75% protection against DENV 3 and 4, and 50% against DENV 1 but low protection (35%) against DENV 2 strain.

This vaccine will help in bringing down the health care expenditure as well as morbidity rate, and is expected to be available in the country as early as by the end of next year.

2) Nano medicine breakthrough a giant leap for India
This is breakthrough to watch out for in the future. National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Mohali has manufactured raw material for generating nano-crystal based medicines, which is being developed under the name NanoCrySP. This will help in better absorption of drugs as more than more than 60% of the drugs are not easily soluble in water, which prevents their absorption. This results in majority of the drug being excreted without absorption, thereby leading to decreased efficacy of these drugs.

3) PCSK9 Inhibitors for Cholesterol Reduction
Hypercholesterolemia is a common problem seen by most of us in clinical practice and elevated levels of cholesterol in the serum predisposes to the development of coronary heart disease.

PCSK9 inhibitors are complex specialty medications that are biologically-engineered proteins designed to mimic a rare genetic condition which results in extremely low LDL cholesterol level.

Trials regarding these products are underway and results will be available by end December 2017. If the results are favorable, this would be a molecule to look out for in the future.

4) Antibody-Drug Conjugates

Conjugate is a unique combination of antibody, toxin, and linker in which the antibodies are joined to several molecules of a highly potent toxin that targets a protein that is only found in or around cancer cells, and special linkers are used to hold them together, which is then used to target the microscopic targets throughout a patient’s body. Antibody-drug conjugates have been designed to treat certain advanced cancers that have spread to other parts of the body.

Currently in clinical trials for solid tumors and blood cancer, it is evident that these the antibody-drug conjugates are becoming an important, and viable approach for selectively delivering highly cytotoxic agents to tumor cells without harming the healthy cells of the body.

5) Leadless Cardiac Pacemaker

A typical pacemaker consists of a pulse generator with the thin wires inserted through a vein—the leads—are stretched from the pulse generator to the heart.

To overcome bradycardia, doctors rely on a surgically implanted cardiac pacemaker and it’s this device that keeps the heart beating at a steady clip.
Over time, the polyurethane and silicone leads can break, the insulation around them can crack, and they can become infection sites along with dislodgement of leads in a few cases.

This wireless cardiac pacemaker is the miniaturized battery-controlled device that can be implanted directly in the heart without surgery by steering it through a femoral vein and up into the heart’s right ventricle whose battery life is estimated to be seven years or longer, and can be easily retrieved by a catheter when the battery runs out.

Late-stage clinical trials of several leadless pacemakers for patients experiencing heart rhythm issues are now ongoing testing at scores of sites around the country pending approval from the FDA. If approved, this pacemaker will eliminate surgery, lumps and scars on patient’s chest, restrictions on daily physical activities, as well as any complications stemming from any malfunctioning insulated connecting leads.

6) Intraoperative Radiation Therapy(IORT) for Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in America as well as India.

For most women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer, a lumpectomy, or partial mastectomy, may be an appropriate treatment option followed by external beam radiation which reduces the likelihood of the cancer but adds to the time course, and cost of treatment.

A new advancement in breast cancer radiation therapy called intraoperative radiation therapy, or IORT, is a promising treatment that may help alleviate some of this burden for women with early-stage disease.

Based on the results of a large clinical trial, focusing the radiation on the tumor bed, IORT has been shown to be as effective as whole breast radiation for selected patients with early stage breast cancer, decreased risk of skin toxicity compared to conventional radiation therapy, and is also significantly less costly.

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