Medical innovation is blooming in 2024, and it has the potential to positively impact many patients.
The end of 2023 brought the first FDA treatment using groundbreaking CRISPR gene editing technology to treat sickle cell patients. In 2024, the FDA is considering a similar treatment for another blood condition called beta thalassemia.
"Now there's all sorts of new technologies where we could make all sorts of new changes to the DNA," said Dr. Daniel Bauer, principal investigator at Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center.
There's also anticipation for the results of a clinical trial in which gene editing is being used to treat patients with high cholesterol.
For surgery, minimal and efficient will be the name of the game. For example, specialties like structural cardiology will continue to grow, meaning less time in the hospital and lower risk of complications for heart patients.
"Moving away from traditional treatments, like open surgical treatments where a surgeon uses a scalpel and opens it up and goes through the chest, instead you go through either a catheter placed in the wrist or the groin," said Dr. Daniel Hermann, interventional and structural cardiologist at Memorial Hermann Health.
Researchers are also looking at a new vaccine, one of the first that would target T-cells in HIV patients.
Plus, artificial intelligence will continue to play an increasing role, from triaging patients in the emergency room to helping diagnose disease sooner.
More states could also expand psilocybin therapy, in which a licensed mental health professional works with patients using a psychedelic compound found in certain mushrooms. Studies have already shown the treatment is helpful for veterans with PTSD.
Personal wellness trends — like the mocktail movement, data-driven wearables and skin care — are also expected to continue to soar. Pinterest's 2024 Predicts report found searches for "body skincare routine" are up more than 1,000%.
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