This year has been a busy one and a lot of breakthroughs have been achieved. Here’s a list of 10 most amazing breakthroughs for biomedical science. Check out the list and let us know what you think of it in the comments.
10. A controversial gene-editing method took major steps toward entering the medical mainstream.
The easy methods to tweak DNA were discovered in the late 2015 and this year CRISPR-Cas9 was given the Breakthrough of the Year award. CRISPR is being used by gene-editing company Editas where it is being employed for the treatment of a rare eye disorder. UC San Diego scientists are making use of it for creating mosquitoes that can resist malaria. It is also being used to create allergy-free peanuts.
9. Doctors at NYU are leading the charge toward more full-face transplants, like this one for a firefighter who was badly injured in the line of duty.
A firefighter, Patrick Hardison, who suffered major injuries back in 2001 at the hands of a fire was given a face transplant in August and the procedure took more than 26 hours and a team of 100 persons. NYU’s Langone Medical Center is hopeful about its plans of using this success as a foundation for transforming the center into a leading face-transplant facility in the country.
8. Scientists created a device that seals a gunshot wound in 20 seconds.
In case of a bullet wound, a mere few seconds mean the difference between life and death and this device saves those precious seconds. Say hello to FDA approved gadget, XStat – a syringe like device that is capable of injecting small sponged into deep wounds. The sponges expand when they come in contact with the blood thus allowing to seal the wound until the patient is given further medical treatment.
7. Uterus and penis transplants are giving new hope to people who otherwise might not be able to have children.
The first uterus and penis transplant attempt in US will be carried out soon. So far, Sweden has carried out a uterus successful transplant while the penis transplant has only been carried twice and was successful only one time.
6. Doctors made big moves to harness the immune system to fight cancer.
The method boosts white blood cells thus reinforcing the immune system.
5. Customized prosthetics made us question what’s real this year.
Prosthetics have made it quite far this year. Scientists from John Hopkins were able to create a robotic hand that was wired into the brain directly and allowed the patient to ‘feel’. Sophie de Oliveira Barata is making use of silicone and other materials to create some really realistic and customized prosthetic limbs. Engineers at Saarland University have created a bionic hand that makes use of thin strands of nickel-titanium motion-sensing wire to facilitate movement.
4. The first-ever vaccine for dengue, the world’s fastest-growing mosquito-borne disease, was approved.
Following decades of research, in December, the Mexican government has approved the world’s first vaccine to treat dengue. About 400 million people are infected by this disease annually. The researchers were having a hard time with this virus since it contains four different strains, however, this vaccine is a promising start.
3. The first drug to treat female sexual dysfunction was approved.
FDA approved Addyi is a pill that has been designed to enhance a woman’s sexual desires and it is being hoped that this development will lead to further approvals of drugs to help out women with sexual dysfunction.
2. The idea that you could test people’s blood with a single drop revolutionized the medical industry.
Theranos is a $9-billion blood-testing company that aims to transform diagnostic blood testing into a simple pricking of a finger. There is, however, still quite some time before this method becomes the standard practice though.
1. The world took major steps towards eradicating HIV/AIDS.
A vaccine for AIDS is stepping into the human trials – phase and HIV prevention pills have shown some positive response. The dream of treating HIV using injections that need to be given only once a month or two is also becoming a reality.