- Cleveland Clinic released its list of top 10 medical innovations that could disrupt healthcare in 2019. Topping the list is alternative pain therapy to combat the nationwide opioid crisis — in particular, pharmacogenomic testing, which uses a patient's genetic makeup to predict how they metabolize drugs.
- Other winners, ranked according to anticipated impact, are: artificial intelligence, new guidelines providing an expanded treatment window for stroke, advances in immunotherapy for cancer treatment and patient-specific products created with 3D printing.
- The clinic announced the winners Wednesday during the 2018 Medical Innovation Summit in Cleveland.
A panel of doctors and researchers compiled the annual list based on an innovation's potential to improve patient outcomes and transform healthcare.
The focus on alternative pain therapies comes as a bipartisan law, signed by President Donald Trump on Wednesday, increases federal funding for research into non-addictive pain management options.
Pharmacogenomic testing can help to prevent adverse reactions and eliminate unnecessary and ineffective medications, Cleveland Clinic noted. It can also predict when a patient may have little or no response to an opiate-based pain treatment and seek to refill the prescription sooner than anticipated.
In the area of cancer immunotherapy, researchers are developing new treatments using concepts from joint therapy and engineered T-cells. "With the near daily discovery of new immunotherapeutic targets and biomarkers, it is the hope that effective therapies will soon exist for all tumor profiles," the clinic said.
Also on the list is virtual and mixed reality for medical education, providing simulation training that augments traditional medical schooling. The panel also spotlighted:
- The hemorrhage scanning visor, a tool for that can detect bleeding in the brain for prehospital stroke diagnosis.
- Advancements in robotic surgery.
- Mitral and tricuspid valve percutaneous replacement and repair, which joins aortic valve percutaneous intervention in the arsenal of heart surgery options yielding positive outcomes.
- RNA-based therapies, which let scientists attack genetic abnormalities before they evolve into functioning or nonfunctioning proteins.
Last year's top 10 list included the artificial pancreas, a hybrid closed-loop insulin delivery system, remote monitoring devices and implants that stimulate airway muscles to avert sleep apnea, similar to the way pacemakers regulate the heart.