2022 saw several groundbreaking developments in health and medicine that will have significant impacts going forward. As we enter 2023, some of the key advancements over the past year show great promise to transform how we prevent, diagnose, and treat major diseases.
New Gene Editing Techniques Show Potential to Cure Devastating Diseases
Some of the most promising health developments in 2023 center around new gene editing techniques like CRISPR. As reported by Forbes, researchers made progress using CRISPR to potentially cure sickle cell disease, a devastating genetic blood disorder that causes severe pain, organ damage, and early death.
Clinical trials found that using CRISPR to edit bone marrow stem cells in sickle cell patients allowed their bodies to start producing normal hemoglobin again. One patient has already been cured, going from over 10 hospital visits per year to zero. If the results hold up, gene editing could provide the first-ever cure for sickle cell in the near future.
Researchers also used CRISPR in an unprecedented way – editing genes while they’re inside the body. A clinical trial delivered a CRISPR therapy directly into patients’ eyes to edit a gene responsible for a form of inherited vision loss. The groundbreaking delivery method opens possibilities for curing many genetic diseases without complex cell or organ procedures.
With recent advances in controlling where CRISPR makes edits and improvements in the accuracy of making cuts at precise spots, gene editing took huge leaps towards living up to its promise to cure devastating inherited disorders. 2023 could see many more breakthrough treatments.
Transforming Detection and Management of Cancer
Early detection and monitoring of cancer recurred or spread are critical for positive outcomes. An explosion of research led to major innovations in these areas over 2022.
A multicancer early detection blood test developed by Grail showed positive results detecting over 50 cancer types with high accuracy and yielded very few false positives. These tests could allow detecting cancer years earlier when it remains curable – a breakthrough for saving lives. Thousands of additional participants are being enrolled to continue evaluating the tests.
Monitoring whether immunotherapy cancer treatments are working proved uniquely challenging – until Claret Biosciences created a new technique. Their blood test accurately detects markers showing if CAR T-cell therapies that engineer immune cells are proliferating and killing tumors. This feedback allows physicians to continue or change course.
An advanced imaging technique using positron emission tomography (PET) and artificial intelligence algorithm co-developed by RefleXion Medical displayed promise for tracking spread of recurring tumors non-invasively. Traditional monitoring methods involving repeated radiation exposure created health risks while being less sensitive.
These cutting edges uses of blood tests, novel imaging, and AI analysis will enable smarter treatment decisions that avoid over and under-treatment. With over 2 million new cancer cases per year in the US alone, improving early detection and monitoring offers lifesaving impacts.
mRNA Technology Unlocks New Vaccines and Therapies
The breakthrough mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 highlight the vast potential of this technology against other diseases. mRNA tricks cells into producing targeted proteins – advantages over traditional vaccines include faster and cheaper production and better immune stimulation.
Moderna advanced hugely significant mRNA vaccines and therapies. They launched massive clinical trials for personal cancer vaccines that deliver mRNA customized to each patient’s specific tumors. Early results caused complete disappearance of tumors in lymphoma patients.
They also began pivotal Phase 3 trials for mRNA vaccines protecting against two leading viral infection causes of infant death – respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and metapneumovirus. Over decades of research to create RSV vaccines failed – mRNA finally offers promise to prevent thousands of childhood deaths.
Beyond vaccines, Moderna’s mRNA therapy restored heart function in preclinical heart failure models. Other firms advanced late-stage human trials for mRNA drugs reversing inheritable diseases like phenylketonuria that causes severe intellectual disability.
The COVID pandemic spotlighted mRNA’s versatility for both vaccines and therapeutics against diverse untreated diseases. 2023 could witness products transforming mortality for infections, genetic disorders, heart disease, and cancer.
Obesity and Diabetes Treatment Options Expand
Obesity now impacts 40% of American adults and advances leading conditions like heart disease and diabetes that lower life expectancy. 2023 welcomed multiple milestone new treatments targeting weight loss and diabetes – critical to alleviating their massive burdens on public health.
An injection called tirzepatide from Eli Lilly demonstrated up to 22.5% body weight reduction for obesity in clinical trials. Approved in May 2022 for type 2 diabetes due to lower blood sugar and HbA1c levels, more than a quarter-million prescriptions were written by year’s end highlighting immense patient need.
Another twice-weekly injection – semaglutide from Novo Nordisk – was approved in 2021 for obesity but expanded access in 2023 could significantly benefit public health. By triggering feelings of fullness, it achieved average 15% body weight reductions.
An oral diabetes pill jointly developed by Novo Nordisk and Zosano called Ozempic similarly triggers weight loss and lowers blood sugar. Compared to injections, the pill format increases ease of administration and access.
While concerns about potential side effects remain requiring further study, having new pharmacological options could help turn the tide against rising obesity levels.
|Average Weight Loss
|Novo Nordisk, Zosano
With over 100 million American adults now with obesity or type 2 diabetes, developing more choices that safely deliver weight control provides major public health impacts. Integrating these with lifestyle changes gives greater odds of success controlling these epidmics.
What Comes Next?
Major pressing health issues like cancer, genetic diseases, viral infectious, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease saw important steps towards cures, preventions, and improved management due to health innovation in 2023. These advancements provide hope for alleviating immense health burdens impacting lives worldwide.
Realizing lasting gains involves continuing medical research progress across diseases while ensuring equitable access for diverse patient populations. Health policy playing a key role incentivizing the immense financial and time investments to develop vital medical products. Continuing strong funding support fuels realizing astounding medical possibilities evidenced by 2023 achievements.
With critical progress fighting these deadly and debilitating conditions, the outlook for public health drastically improves going forward. Turning these discoveries into population health gains requires sustained efforts from scientists, policy makers, manufacturers, providers, and patients themselves as stakeholders.
But with the traction gained in 2023, the potential health impacts make it clear – we’re living in an era of medical miracles and more are surely coming.
To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.