A whole new world of discovery – Justin Smith Marketing Manager CALCIVIS Ltd

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  Posted by: The Probe      1st June 2018

In recent years we have seen some extraordinary scientific and technological breakthroughs, which are likely to influence and improve health care for many years to come. With advanced research, drug developments and ground-breaking innovations, thousands of lives have been saved. These exciting new discoveries are also enabling professionals to make better clinical decisions, offer more effective treatment pathways and improve patient quality of life. Here are just a few examples of the amazing findings and quantum leaps that have recently been witnessed:

Technology has evolved to such an extent that the elderly may soon be able to reach super strengths, and disabled people may achieve real freedom of movement, far beyond the limitations of a wheelchair. Leading manufacturers have developed, and engineered, wearable, motorised exoskeletons, with self-driving mechanisms that can give paraplegic individuals the power to stand, walk, and even climb stairs. As well as assisting disabled people, it has been suggested that augmenting the body, and enhancing its abilities with robotics, is the way forward so that hard manual labour, lifting heavy objects, or holding large tools, may become child’s play.

The collaboration of some of the top surgeons and scientists in the world has now made it possible for some very sophisticated transplants to be placed. In dentistry alone great strides in research and technology, has transformed areas such as dental implant surgery to enable clinicians to perform highly accurate and successful procedures whilst ensuring increased safety, and comfort to their patients. Similarly, huge improvements have been made in organ transplants and successful retrieval transportation and implant, procedures have become considerably safer and easier. For example, a new process called warm perfusion, is able to keep donated organs such as hearts, and lungs functional, allowing them to last longer and maintain their vitality. As well as internal organs there have also been penis, face and hand replacements, and in the last year hands have been successfully attached so that nerves connect, and operate to make them usable.

Another interesting arena is the potential integration of 3D bio-printed tissues. With the integration of technologies, from the fields of biomaterial science, cell biology, physics, engineering, and medicine, these constructions are continuously progressing, and increasing in their complexity. From tissues such as skin, cartilage and blood vessels, to solid printed organs such as a liver or kidney, several examples have been successfully created on a human scale that are approaching the functionality required for transplantation.[1] Eventually, it is hoped that this technology may be applied to a range of possibilities such as the acceleration of tissue healing, the removal and replacement of tissues during same surgery, further scientific analysis and drug testing.

It is always tremendously exciting when we hear of new ways to treat diseases. The newspaper headlines of recent months that have highlighted several breakthroughs, and the drug trials of Ionis-HTTRx to treat Huntington’s disease are particularly promising. This new drug is part of a new class of therapy, which aims to ‘silence’ certain genes to prevent the production of toxic proteins that damage nerve cells in the brain and cause this devastating disease.[2] It has also been reported that the fight against cardiac disease has entered an important new era: studies on a drug called Canakinumab, which works by lowering inflammation in the body could soon be used to prevent thousands of heart attacks every year. Findings from a four-year drug trial of Canakinumab showed another surprising result when the apparent reduction of tumour growth was also revealed.[3] Similarly, there is a lot of talk about nanoparticles that can be chemically programmed to seek out certain tissues in the body. This could potentially pave a brand new way for locating and marking diseased cells.

Certainly, we have seen a new wave of innovation for detecting disease. For example, tiny pill sized cameras that can take detailed microscopic images and transmit video are now available to help healthcare professionals to spot problems or make treatment-planning decisions. Digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) or 3D mammography is another new imaging modality that is dramatically improving lesion visibility and early cancer detection.

Gaining traction after its launch into the dental market too, is the innovative CALCIVIS imaging system, which fascinatingly, uses a luminescent (light emitting) photoprotein to identify free calcium ions on actively demineralising tooth surfaces. This non-surgical, early detection device allows dental practitioners and their patients to access live visualisation of active tooth demineralisation and, at its earliest, most reversible stage.

Effective, new ways of identifying some of the world’s most prolific diseases are beginning to revolutionise health care provision. Furthermore, the shift from treating diseases and conditions, to preventing them is sure to benefit a great number of patients. Over the last few years more focus has been placed on healthy living, nutrition and physical fitness and the market for wearable digital devices and smart-phone apps to meet the trend of self-monitoring has grown significantly.

Any strategies that encourage patients to take responsibility for their own health are huge steps forward, and as we are well aware, prevention is always better than cure – so long may it continue.

 

For more information visit www.CALCIVIS.com

or call 0131 658 5152

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Murphy S. et al. 3D Bioprinting of Tissues and Organs. Nature Biotechnology August 2014. 32 (8). https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sean_Murphy20/publication/264500820_3D_Bioprinting_of_Tissues_and_Organs/links/54ca3f450cf2c70ce521a333.pdf [Accessed 13th December 2017]

[2] University London. Science News. Drug lowers deadly Huntington’s disease protein. Science Daily, 11 December 2017. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171211100313.htm [Accessed 13th December 2017.

[3] Milmo C. Scientists say anti-inflammatory drug could prevent thousands of heart attacks each year. The Essential Daily Briefing, News 27th August 2017. https://inews.co.uk/news/uk/scientists-say-anti-inflammatory-drug-prevent-thousands-heart-attacks-year/ [Accessed 13th December 2017]


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