Every few weeks we try to bring you the top five most compelling stories in recent medical news. Keep reading to learn about about a potential new Ebola prevention treatment, the first 3-D printed drug, the and more!
Nanocapsule Technology Could Be Used To Treat Stroke and Heart Attacks
A study funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has indicated that nanocapsules containing a blood-clot busting drug could be used to revolutionize treatment for strokes and heart attacks. Ordinarily blood-clot busting drugs are extremely risky as a treatment, because if the medicine ends up in the wrong place (not a blood clot) it will cause bleeding. This new capsule tackles that problem by using nanotechnology to respond to the blood-coagulating molecule thrombin so that the medicine can specifically target blood clots. One of the authors of the study, Frank Caruso, states “About half of the people who need a clot-busting drug can't use the current treatments because the risk of serious bleeding is too high." This new technology has great potential in offering a safe alternative that could changes the outcomes of stroke and heart attack patients.
By National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NIH), via Wikimedia Commons
FDA Approves World’s First 3-D Printed Drug
Aprecia Pharmaceuticals recently got FDA approval for their epilepsy medication, SPRITAM, which is the very first drug to be created using 3-D printing technology. This anti-seizure medication comes in the form of a dissolvable pill, which makes delivery of the medicine much easier. Doctors have noted that it can be very difficult for epilepsy patients to adhere to a treatment regime, which often results in the patient having one of more seizures if they neglect to take their medication. The manufacturers of SPRITAM believe that because of how quick and easy it is to administer this new drug, it will encourage patients to consistently adhere to a treatment regime. [Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/297740.php]
Implantable Biosensors Used To Battle Cancer
Researchers from MIT are developing an implantable biosensor, small enough to fit into the needle of a syringe, that can be inserted into a tumor to monitor its progression and response to treatment. The device is designed to read pH and oxygen levels to give doctors immediate information so that the caregiver will have the opportunity to improve a patient’s treatment or reduce unnecessary side effects. This technology could be a wonderful, more accurate alternative to current cancer monitoring procedures, such as biopsies and MRI’s. These current procedures are limited in how up-to-date the information they can provide is, and in the case of biopsies the procedure can be highly invasive.
Image credit: C. C. Vassiliou et al./MIT
Duodenoscope-Related Illnesses Higher Than Previously Thought
An ongoing investigation is revealing that for each incident of duodenoscope-related illness reported, there are several others that aren’t. Duodenoscopes are medical devices that are run down the throat of a patient to treat gastrointestinal issues, and they have been linked to dozens of infections and at least 12 deaths. Public health officials learned that this issue is due to bacteria lodging itself in the recesses of the scope, moving from patient to patient. However, because there is a lack of consistency in these diseases being reported, government attempts to reign in these outbreaks and infections will continue to be hampered. [Source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/08/05/duodenoscope-infections-not-reported/29988165/]
Ebola Treatment Vaccine Has Been Successfully Field Tested
It would be pretty difficult to forget last summer when the entire public was in crisis-mode about the Ebola virus outbreak in Africa. Fortunately, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that they have field tested a new vaccine called SV-ZEBOV in West Africa, and it was successful in protecting individuals from Ebola infection and spreading the disease. Researchers compared groups of individuals who had been recently exposed to the illness. Those who had received the vaccine contracted the virus 76% less often than those who had not been administered the treatment. Upon the success of this trial, a data and safety monitoring board has recommended that the trial be expanded to gain more evidence about the effectiveness of this promising new vaccine. [Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/297608.php]