clinical research: 5 predictions for the next 5 years
The focus of research now is becoming increasingly patient-centered, with the development of precision medicine. Medical treatments, technology and clinical decisions are being customized to the individual patient.
The next five years will see some amazing innovations in clinical labs, clinical testing, and clinical research.
1. The development of a clinical laboratory on a chip is already well along. This tiny lab can analyze blood or urine or saliva, identifying biomarkers for diseases that have not manifested in the individual as yet, such as Parkinson's or various types of cancer. This nanotechnology would be available to patients and their doctors and researchers.
2. Microchips have been designed to become platforms for cell cultures. Cardiac cells can be grown on these platforms, forming strips of cardiac muscle similar to that found in the heart. Drugs can be tested on these strips to show activity, eliminating the necessity for some lengthy and expensive clinical trials.
3. Wearing a Holter monitor to watch for cardiac dysrhythmias was uncomfortable and inconvenient. Now bio-sensing devices are smaller, cheaper and easier to use. Your vital signs, heart rhythm, blood sugar and other chemistries can be monitored continuously. The patient controls the device. The wearables are not just bracelets. They can be shirts or other pieces of clothing. The shirt can note more than just vital signs. Stress can be monitored. Soldiers in battle can be watched through their shirts. Bullet wounds will be reported, including the site and the severity.
4. Genetic modification is a leader for future trends. On August 2, 2017, for the first time in America, the genes of an embryo were edited to prevent development of congenital heart disease. Genetic editing to prevent devastating hereditary diseases has already started. The technology is available.
5. Artificial intelligence in radiology will not replace radiologists, but will be able to evaluate images in greater depth than the human eye. Computer generated reports will assist the radiologist in interpreting X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, etc. In addition, AI will give the radiologist more time to focus on the patient and communicate with the primary physician.
The future of medicine looks bright for improving lives, although there will be ethical concerns. The new focus is the patient, making health and fitness easier to maintain and to monitor from the beginning of life onward.
Topics: Clinical Diagnostics