Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Future of Medicine is Now!

Advances in medical care are coming at us at a furious rate.  Just within this past month we’re heard about an exciting treatment program for chronic lymphocytic leukemia by using genetically engineered T cells to attack the cancerous leukemia cells.  Not only did it treat the disease in the 3 individuals who received it, but it possibly might have even cured them! 
            The world of oncology has never been able to speak of ‘cure’ when it comes to cancer therapy, and now they are on the cusp of potentially being able to say that!
            Additionally every few months now we are hearing of another monoclonal antibody that has been approved by the FDA to treat another chronic disease.  Just this month it was an antibody against Hodgkin’s lymphoma.   Currently there are 16 (and growing) approved monoclonal antibodies which are being used against various chronic diseases, which includes many rheumatology disorders, inflammatory bowel diseases, psoriasis, asthma as well as macular degeneration. 
            The world of medicine has changed from being a place where treatment was broad ranged (systemic antibiotics being used for a local sinus infection, systemic steroids being used for local inflammation due to a brown recluse spider bite, etc) to a world of cell directed therapy (monoclonal antibodies which react only with the inflammatory cell they have an antibody against, gene therapy for pediatric patients with SCID, etc). 
            With the change in the approach to treating medical conditions so has the side effects of being treated changed.  Patients will no longer have the chance of acquiring diabetes from receiving too many doses of steroids, or end up with a yeast infection from their antibiotics.  Instead they will have problems with cell mediated treatment such as flu like symptoms and/or fever. 
            With such advances being made in medicine, patients can now have increasing hope that the conditions they have, the chronic diseases they have to deal with on a daily basis may indeed become a thing of the past.  Based on all of the new advances, just in the past few years, who’s to know what will become available to us providers in the ever so near future?  Now is an exciting time to be a medical provider!

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