The amazing medical milestones of last year included the first full-face transplant in the United States and a new approach to lower an infected person's chance of transmitting the HIV virus by 96 percent.
While the last decade has seen a considerable extent of discoveries, medical breakthroughs, and technological developments, 2012 is sure to make a splash.
How has the last decade influenced medicine going forward?
Let’s take a look at the top 3 medical advancements sure to make waves in 2012, as reported by Fox News:
Prediction #1: Medicine gets closer to treating cancer with vaccines
Radiation and chemotherapy have channeled the most advanced treatments for cancer over the last decade. This year will introduce the newest advances in therapeutic treatment.
Dr. Larry Kwak, professor at University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center stated, "It's an exciting time for cancer vaccine development. What's especially impressive is the diversity of cancer vaccine. It bodes well for what you're going to be seeing in the future."
Therapeutic vaccines to treat bladder, breast, cervical, kidney, lung, pancreatic and other forms of cancer are progressing each day. The National Cancer Institute reports current clinical trials are moving towards regulatory approvals.
Prediction 2: Malaria vaccine development will advance
In 2010, the World Health Organization assessments enlisted 216 million cases of malaria and 655,000 deaths. Scientists at the University of Oxford peaked national attention recently as they publicized the development of a vaccine to stop the strains of the deadliest malaria parasite, in animal studies.
"You would think that anything that's that complicated couldn't possibly succeed as a parasite, but it is one of the most successful: The illness it creates is often mortal, if not debilitating," stated William Schaffner, chairman of the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
As the parasites erupt from blood cells, toxins escape and can further destroy the red blood cells leading to anemia. The vaccine advanced at the University of Oxford interrupts the parasite's entry.
"That is an absolute critical stage. If we can keep it out of the red blood cell, it can't make you sick," chairman Schaffner stated.
Prediction 3- Millions will breathe easier, thanks to new regulations
Last December the Environmental Protection Agency stated new limits for mercury emissions and air toxins that may prevent 11,000 pre-mature deaths and 4,700 heart attacks each year.
"It's going to have a huge benefit for a lot of different people," said Janice Nolan, assistant American Lung Association vice president. “The new regulations curb carcinogens and pollutants that exacerbate asthma,” Nolan further announced.
The new EPA regulations will bound the volume of mercury released into the air. The new system will also cut levels of more than 60 air toxins. Air toxins can secrete into our bodies and adversely affect our lungs, hearts, and our brains.
Predictions are just that – educated guesses. But, with the medical advancements seen over the last decade, industry experts have high expectations for 2012.
In some cases, these predictions will change the deep-seated beliefs we hold true to medicine today. While in others, they will open up possibilities beyond our wildest dreams.
What medical milestones are you looking forward to seeing in 2012?
To learn more about new health care trials and treatments, find a doctor near you.
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