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Top Developments in Medical Treatments for 2020 – Part 2

Historically, improvements in medicine significantly decreased, or nearly wiped out, many diseases, including polio, measles, rubella and smallpox. Are you curious about what new developments will improve diagnosis and treatment options for patients? To answer that question, a team at Cleveland Clinic identifies what they consider the top 10 medical innovations for the coming year. What do they consider the top developments in medical treatments for 2020? Read below to find out!

In order of importance, here are items 6-10 from the Cleveland Clinic’s list of Top 10 Medical Innovations for 2020 (read last week’s post for the top 5 items):

6. Biologics in orthopedic repair

Bones can heal themselves, regenerating after an injury. But, in some cases, the normal bone healing process doesn’t adequately restore structure and function.

photo old man with knee pain - Developments in Medical Treatments for 2020Why?

There are conditions that make it difficult for bones to heal themselves. For example:

  • Bone defects caused by trauma or removal of a tumor.
  • Failed surgical fusion procedures.
  • Metabolic disorders such as osteoporosis and osteogenesis imperfecta.

And, sometimes, bones just don’t heal after breaks.

What’s the innovation?

Biologics to the rescue. Biologic drugs, derived from living organisms, include cells, blood components and other natural substances. These drugs can help the body’s natural healing processes, making them helpful for orthopedic repair. They can speed healing and improve outcomes.

Can biologics help you?

Since this is a new field, there is a lot of misinformation aimed at patients in marketing campaigns, particularly concerning unproven biologic treatments, such as platelet-rich plasma and cell-based therapies. Talk to your doctor and do your homework before choosing a biologic treatment.

miscroscopic photo of germs7. Antibiotic envelope to prevent infections from cardiac device implants

Patients with cardiac arrhythmia have hearts that beat too quickly, too slowly, or with an irregular pattern. Many of these patients have surgically implanted devices to regulate their heartbeats. For example, pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) help regulate heartbeat.

What’s the problem?

Patients can develop dangerous infections after having a cardiac device implanted. Importantly, these infections significantly increase the risk of morbidity (medical problems) and death.

What’s the innovation?

Surgeons can now place the device in an envelope embedded with antibiotics to help prevent infections. Researchers found that these antibacterial envelopes significantly reduced major infections from implanted cardiac devices, without a higher incidence of complications.

What can you do?

If you, or a loved one, need surgery to implant a cardiac device, ask your doctor if he/she uses the envelope embedded with antibiotics. Since infection can be serious, consider looking for a new doctor if your doctor does not use this infection-fighting envelope.

8. Bempedoic acid for high cholesterol for statin-intolerant patients

photo of white pills spilling onto table from pill bottle - Developments in Medical Treatments for 2020We’ve all heard about cholesterol, but many of us might not understand exactly what it is, how it harms us, and how doctors treat it. We all have cholesterol, a waxy, fat-like substance, in our blood. Our bodies need cholesterol to build healthy cells. However, high levels of cholesterol are dangerous.

If you have too much cholesterol, it can combine with other substances in blood to form plaque. Subsequently, this plaque can stick to the walls of your arteries, impeding blood flow. Furthermore, sometimes those plaque deposits can break suddenly and form a clot that causes a heart attack or stroke.

Doctors often treat high cholesterol with a class of drug called statins. However, for some patients, statins cause severe muscle pain.

What’s the new development?

Bempedoic acid can lower cholesterol without these side effects.

What can you do?

If you take statins for high cholesterol and suffer from muscle pain, ask your doctor about bempedoic acid.

9. PARP Inhibitors for maintenance therapy in ovarian cancer

photo woman with cancer in bed - Developments in Medical Treatments for 2020Ovarian cancer is a tough diagnosis that no one wants to hear. The American Cancer Society estimates that for 2019, in the US, about 22,530 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Most importantly, they expect that about 13,980 women will die from ovarian cancer in 2019. Although the rate of diagnosis has been slowly falling over the past 20 years, almost 75% of patients relapse or progress.

What’s the new development?

A relatively new treatment, PARP (poly-ADP ribose polymerase) inhibitors help kill tumor cells. This development is considered one of the most important advances in ovarian cancer treatment. Importantly, research shows that PARP inhibitors can increase the time after treatment during which a patient doesn’t get worse. And, it is now being approved as the first treatment for advanced-stage ovarian cancer.

How can this help you?

If you have ovarian cancer, ask your doctor about PARP inhibitors.

photo man holding chest - Developments in Medical Treatments for 202010. Drugs for heart failure with preserved ejection fraction

Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), also called diastolic heart failure, occurs when the heart pumps normally but is too stiff to fill properly. Therefore, the heart cannot pump enough blood through the body to meet the body’s needs for oxygen and nutrition.

What’s the new innovation?

Historically, there was no identified effective treatments for diastolic heart failure. Now, researchers are evaluating a class of drugs called SGLT2 inhibitors as an option for diastolic heart failure. Interestingly, doctors use this class of drugs to treat patients with type 2 diabetes.

How will this impact you?

If you suffer from HFpEF, talk to your doctors about SGLT2 inhibitors.

A final thought on these developments in medical treatments for 2020.

Although the Cleveland Clinic is a highly respected organization, I suggest you talk to your doctor, and do some research, before making treatment decisions.

And, don’t forget to check out last week’s post for the top 5 items on their list!

 

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