If you’re still marveling over the Band-Aid or the amazing power of Nyquil, you’re in for a real shock. All kinds of innovative, incredible technology is being developed and practiced in the medical industry, and we’re going to highlight five of the most recent and impressive.
1. Grow New Skin from Healthy Skin Cells
That’s right — a “skin cell gun” can grow new, healthy skin in mere days that can be successfully used to heal burn victims’ skin. A medical professional has to isolate the healthy skin cells of the patient, transport it in a water solution into the gun, and spray the cells onto the damaged or dead skin. It’s still in the testing stages, but more than 12 people have already experienced the success of the skin cell gun.
One success involved a Pennsylvania cop who suffered second-degree burns on parts of his face, neck, shoulder, and arm. He qualified for the skin gun experiment, and after being sprayed with his own, healthy skin cells, his burned skin was miraculously healed in the matter of three days. In the past, it’s taken weeks for skin to grow, which is too long for burn victims who develop infections during that time. Now the skin gun can change all of that.
2. Stop Organ Failure…Before It Even Begins
A scanner developed by researchers at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid can see cell processes on the molecular level, which allows it to view organ function instead of simply viewing the form. Developed at the beginning of 2011, this device gives doctors the capability of identifying when an organ is about to begin malfunctioning based on erratic cell behavior. Being able to watch this type of behavior gives doctors a huge head-start when it comes to organ failure prevention.
But it doesn’t stop there. Because medical professionals can so closely identify the workings of cells with this device, they can use this knowledge to create better medications that treat diseases right when they’re in their beginning stages.
3. Record Real-Time Neuron Interaction
We’ve heard about MRIs and PETs, but what about STEM? (It’s short for multifocal two-photon microscopy with spatio-temporal excitation-emission multiplexing, but that’s not the point.) This microscope technology can see the communication of thousands of the brain’s neurons, something never accessible to medical professionals before this year.
Getting such a close-up look can help doctors discover more about brain disorders with unidentified roots. The main examples include autism, mental retardation, and schizophrenia, all of which are believed to be caused by neurons not functioning properly. This new technology, however, can potentially give us access to some of the answers we’ve been looking for.
4. Boost Chemotherapy and Radiation Effectiveness
Now a tiny device can go a long way in monitoring certain tumor growth. After using a biopsy needle to inject it into the tumor, this little device can generate oxygen into the core, which, in hypoxic tumors, contains low levels of oxygen. Oxygen is what allows radiation methods to be effective, and previous to this mini oxygen generator, hypoxic tumors were difficult to treat.
Ultrasound technology is used to power the device’s separation of hydrogen and oxygen from water, and it’s been shown to be effective in treating pancreatic tumors through testing on mice. Having just been made public on August 30, a patent has been filed for the design.
5. Implant New Organs Made Solely In the Lab
Instead of using donor tissue, scientists in London created a trachea made of a patient’s stem cells. The 36-year-old man, who suffered from tracheal cancer, successfully received the lab-made windpipe — the first lab-made organ implanted into a person — in June.
Not only did the man’s body accept the trachea — a few days later, the man experienced a cough reflex. The doctors came up with the idea to create an organ when the patient had undergone every type of treatment available and hadn’t recovered, his final step being to wait for a transplant. The windpipe’s form was made of polymers that mimicked a trachea’s structure, and the form was covered in the patient’s stem cells before being implanted.
A lot of unbelievable medical innovations take place under the public radar, but so much incredible technology is being developed in the world of medicine. Doctors and researchers are developing more accurate and more efficient methods of studying, diagnosing, treating, and preventing different diseases and disorders, and these advances will only improve and become more impressive in time.