When it comes to finding inspiration, the scientific and technological world always has a lot to show us about how important innovation is. However, many of us do not give the world of medicine and healthcare technology the attention that it deserves. Here are some of the latest changes in technology and treatment that could be revolutionizing healthcare in the upcoming decade.
Could Donors Be a Thing of the Past?
The short supply of transplant organs has always been a significant and serious question for the medical world, and one that is difficult to answer. However, any potential solutions named so far have been hugely controversial, such as laboratory grown organs, as well as the concerns of organ harvesting in certain parts of the world. However, artificial organs could be a thing of the future. Testing on 3D printed organs is well underway, and a patient has already been fit with an artificial windpipe successfully.
The Growing World of Test Subjects
Live animal testing has played a key role in the development of medicines and treatments for a long time, but the ability to manipulate the biology and the genes of the test subjects that we have at our disposal is becoming increasingly valuable. The development of knockout mice, who have a certain gene of interest made inoperative, means that we’re better able to study the function of specific genes, what happens then they are blocked, and how drugs and treatments can affect animals on a genetic level. As much debate as there may be around live animal testing, it continues to prove invaluable to medical research.
When you think of how to automate the world of healthcare, then there is one robotic revolution that comes to the forefront of any practitioner’s mind: the use of robot arms for surgery. However, that’s no longer a dream for the future. Robotic surgery is becoming increasingly useful for highly invasive procedures that demand high precision and control. It’s making surgeries that are so complex that they might as well be impossible much more achievable. As this technology progresses, it’s not at all unreasonable to expect that human surgeons might spend more time operating machines rather than handling the human body themselves. The opportunity to remove human error from the equation is simply too tempting.
Genetic Manipulation in Humans
We’ve already looked at how we can knock out certain genes in test animals such as mice to learn more about those genes, as well as to increase the efficacy of drug testing. However, CRISPR is a gene-editing technology that, while currently controversial, could help treat some of the most persistent conditions: those that affect our genes. The ability to cut out infected DNA strands could transform how we treat disease, with a serious potential to develop cures, not treatments, for hereditary conditions.
From improving how we test our medicines and understand our genes to harnessing technologies such as 3D printing and robotics, the healthcare world is transforming before our eyes. It’s likely it might look entirely different a decade from now, too.