Thanks to rapid advances in technology and a growing sense of teamwork among the medical research community, modern medicine is set to see a series of incredible breakthroughs. While some of the breakthroughs listed below remain on the horizon, there’s intense optimism that we’ll see them become mainstream treatments and therapies within the decade.
Let’s take a look at some of the more anticipated medical breakthroughs of the 2020s:
Everyone wants to know: when will a COVID-19 vaccine be available? Thanks in part to Operation Warp Speed, we now have three successful vaccines set to become available starting as early as December 2020. The seemingly miraculous speed at which these vaccines were developed suggests there could be similarly swift developments of other vaccines in the near future.
Point-of-care blood testing
One of the holy grails of modern medicine is developing a faster bloodwork system for hospitals and clinics. As of now, the process takes days, if not weeks. But what if it only took hours or even minutes? The development of faster comprehensive blood testing would give doctors and patients the answers they need to begin treatment and therapy right away. The race to develop rapid bloodwork tests remains ongoing, but many believe we’ll see success within the next few years.
The vast majority of our bodily functions happen on the molecular level. The delicate nature of human tissue and sensitive features of vital organs make modern surgery a relatively brutal way to alleviate pain and suffering. With medical nanotechnology, however, medical professionals would be able to perform surgical procedures on a microscopic level. Thanks to this technology, it might even be possible for patients to remain conscious and alert during major surgeries. While still several years away from practical application, most experts believe nanomedicine will come on line within the next ten years.
Artificial organs and organ donation have been around for decades. However, these options present major roadblocks to overcome before patients can live normal, healthy lives. Such is no longer the case if the replacement organs are grown in a lab using stem cells from the patient. The result is a new heart, kidney, or liver that is 100% identical to the pre-damaged original—no complicated systems running on outside power or risk of organ rejection. The same technology – which many believe will become available by the end of the decade – can also be used to regrown limbs and other body parts.
Humans share 99.9% of our DNA. However, that .01% difference can become a significant factor when developing treatment options for cancer and heart disease, and other disorders. That’s why more focus is being put on gene-based therapy, in which a patient’s genetic makeup is factored into the decision-making process. As time goes on, certain treatments will be tied to these genetic markers, making it easier for doctors to make the right call to tackle a significant health problem like cancer.
It seems like there’s a new medical breakthrough making headlines every day. However, only a handful go on to become significant factors in modern medicine. While we still need time to see them come to fruition, the medical breakthroughs mentioned above are not only on the horizon but expected to be here before we know it
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