TOP 20 MEDICAL INNOVATIONS OVER 20 YEARS or 20 touches to the portrait of the 21st century medicine
According to one of the popular online jokes, all the “experts” in the political science have suddenly become “experts” in virology. But the truth is that many non-medical people are trying to understand the basics of what is happening, what to fear of and how to protect themselves and their loved ones. Many of them for the first time in their life have learned what R0 is, taken a “crash course” of hygiene, virology and epidemiology, and learned the names of the drugs that most likely they will never need. But most importantly, everyone is waiting for a breakthrough – a vaccine that protects us from the virus, or the development of a drug that will help cure those who are ill.
Taking into account the increased public interest in medical science, Liga.net and Farmak could not ignore this and decided to create a joint project that would give an idea of what is happening (and has been happening for 20 years) in the global medicine. This was the start of the first Ukrainian rating of medical innovations from 2000 to 2020.
In modern medicine, breakthroughs happen all the time because, apart from coronary diseases, there are a lot of problems and they will always exist. But for various reasons, such breakthroughs often go unnoticed outside a small group of people even if we talk about the innovations which are understandable for a layman, those, which can be “touched”.
We decided to select 20 medical innovations that have been the most important in the 21st century. Looking ahead, it should be mentioned that such a choice will always lack objectiveness as it is not a predetermined distance running competition where it can be clearly seen those the first and the second to cross a finish line. Someone places emphasis on the principle that the new drug effects and it makes no difference what kind of disease it is designed to treat. And someone needs these drugs to help a close person, and what its principle is and whether it is connected with the Nobel prize are left to the discretion of genetics and molecular biologists.
We asked a group of experts to make this choice. There were the representatives of various medical specialities among those: infectious disease specialists, gynaecologists, ophthalmologists, allergists, and others. There were those who regularly treat patients and those who are engaged in research. But all of them are professionals and have a broad medical outlook.
The innovations were selected in two stages. At the first stage, each expert proposed a list of innovations which, to his/her mind, have been the most important in the 21st century medicine. We formed them into a single list, from which, at the second stage, each expert selected 20 most worthy ones (in their opinion). We had but count the votes and determine top 20 innovations. We bring it into your knowledge.
It should be noted that none of the technologies or drugs that are presented in this list have been developed in Ukraine, which is quite predictable. We had no purpose to downplay the importance of the results of our researchers who work in the field of medicine and biology, but the reality shows that global medical developments do not appear only because the country’s authorities have suddenly promised to pay a million to whoever will invent a “miracle pill”.
To show the conditions in which our researchers work, what they have already achieved and what they aspire to, we decided to tell you three stories. And finally – a few more stories about the fight against viruses to remind you that science can win even the most insidious of them.
RATING EXPERT JURY:
- Oksana Vitovska, Ophthalmologist, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor of the Department of Ophthalmology, Bogomolets National Medical University, Honoured Doctor of Ukraine
- Andriy Goy, Technical Director of JSC Farmak
- Borys Donskyi, Immunologist, Candidate of Biological Sciences, Senior Researcher at the Institute of Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology named after academician O. М. Lukyanova of the NAMS of Ukraine
- Yurii Zhyhariev, Infectious Diseases Doctor of the highest category, Candidate of Medical Sciences, Senior Lecturer of the School of Public Health of National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy
- Tetiana Zaporozhets, Otolaryngologist, Plastic Surgeon, Candidate of Medical Sciences, Assistant of the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery of the Institute of Postgraduate Education of Bogomolets National Medical University
- Ivan Kondratov, Candidate of Chemical Sciences, Senior Researcher at V.P. Kukhar Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry and Petrochemistry. Head of the Department of Medical Chemistry of R&D enterprise Enamine
- Nataliia Leliukh, Obstetrician-Gynaecologist, Head of the Women’s Clinic of St. Paraskeva Medical Center, medical blogger, founder of the Women’s Club with Nataliia Leliukh
- Olha Maliuta, Embryologist of IVMED Clinic, science communicator
- Olha Naumova, Allergist, Candidate of Medical Sciences, researcher at the Institute of Otolaryngology named after prof. O. S. Kolomiychenko of the NAMS of Ukraine, President of the Ukrainian Coeliac Society
- Oksana Sulaieva, Pathologist, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor, Research Director at the CSD Medical Laboratory
In 1953 a group of British researchers managed to understand the structure of the DNA molecule that contains all the information about the structure and body of any living creature, including human. It is difficult to imagine almost any of the medical advances described in this project without this discovery. Similarly, the rest of modern medicine and biology cannot exist without it.
The 21st century technologies allow “reading” the DNA of any particular person that is the key to many doors. Owing of this, we know why certain genetic diseases appear and already find the ways how to treat them. We can estimate the risk the person has to be affected in the future with some disease and in some cases to prevent the disease or at least be ready for it. We understand the genetic characteristics of the tumour and select the treatment strategy that is most likely to help this patient.
Embryos and ova vitrification
Reproductive medicine for a variety of reasons experiences the need to preserve the oocytes (female reproductive cells) or embryos for some time. For example, a woman should immediately undergo treatment, which can damage the germ cells.
Therefore, they should be kept in proper condition, and then, when the body is ready, to procreate using assisted reproductive technologies. If germ cells or embryos are frozen in the usual way, the cells inside will contain ice crystals that can destroy the cell. Vitrification method assumes that the cells or the embryos are cooled very fast (much faster than the second) to a temperature of -198 °C. Due to this, crystals are not formed, and the substance inside the cell goes into a state that is similar to glass (in Latin, “in vitro” means “in glass”). Then, if they are warmed, even after 30 years, the cells will be in excellent condition. Today this method is widely and usefully applied in reproductive medicine.