Pharmacogenomics will help combat the opioid crisis
Overdose deaths in the United States set a record in 2017,1 but there is optimism that pharmacogenomics, or drug-gene testing, will help reverse the course. The Cleveland Clinic predicts that “with increased access to genetic testing, pharmacogenomics is poised to make significant inroads into precision medicine” and may ultimately put an end to the opioid crisis.2
The first supervised injection site will open in the United States
The Denver City Council recently passed an ordinance to allow the nation’s first supervised injection site. The Colorado General Assembly must also render an approval. A bipartisan bill to allow the site narrowly failed in a Republican-controlled Senate in 2018, but party control will change in 2019, making its passage more likely.3 Meanwhile, cities including San Francisco and Philadelphia are moving forward with their own site plans, despite warnings from the US Justice Department. Whether in Denver, San Francisco, Philadelphia, or elsewhere, expect the first supervised injection site in the United States to open in the near future, and for a legal battle to follow.
3D printing will play an increasing role in healthcare
The Cleveland Clinic notes that 3D printing “gives medical practitioners the ability to provide patients the most advanced care, while simultaneously minimizing the risk of complication in patients that meet specific medical requirements.” Using this technology, medical devices can be matched to exact patient specifications. 3D printing can be used to improve the lives of patients reliant on prosthetic limbs, replace human organ transplants, and speed up surgical procedures. In all its applications, 3D printing is “increasing the attention to detail in patient care.”2
The new FDA approval process will improve clinician choice of medical devices
The FDA recently announced it will modernize its 510(k) approval process for medical devices. The change results from a need to “keep pace with the increasing complexity of rapidly evolving technology.”4 This will encourage product developers to use more modern device comparators in the approval process and give clinicians a better choice between older and newer versions of the same types of devices.
Virtual reality technology will take on a greater role in medical education
Virtual reality (VR) technology has become popular in medical education. VR programs simulate training and provide a hands-on learning experience. The Cleveland Clinic notes that “education via simulation is a productive step toward the system’s most adept and confident healthcare providers.”2 These programs are bound to play an expanding role in medical schooling.
A new peanut allergy drug will pave the way for new food allergy drugs
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine provided strong evidence that children and teenagers with peanut allergies could be desensitized through controlled, escalating exposure to AR101, a peanut-derived immunotherapy drug.5 This breakthrough research is likely to lead to the creation of new food allergy drugs.
Predicting the future is anything but an exact science, but we’re not letting that stop us from trying. Recently, the editorial staff at Infectious Disease Advisor huddled together to compile a list of advances we and other experts envision having an impact on infectious disease specialists and their patients in 2019 and beyond. Take a look inside our crystal ball:
- Hedegaard H, Miniño AM, Warner M. Drug overdose deaths in the United States, 1999-2017. National Center for Health Statistics. November 2018. Accessed December 5, 2018.
- Cleveland Clinic unveils top 10 medical innovations for 2019. Cleveland Clinic. October 24, 2018. Accessed December 5, 2018.
- Kafer K. Is a supervised drug injection site right for Denver? Denver Post. November 29, 2018. Accessed December 5, 2018.
- Statement from FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. and Jeff Shuren, M.D., Director of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, on transformative new steps to modernize FDA’s 510(k) program to advance the review of the safety and effectiveness of medical devices. US Food & Drug Administration. November 26, 2018. Accessed December 5, 2018.
- Vickery BP, Vereda A, Casale TB; for the PALISADE Group of Clinical Investigators. AR101 oral immunotherapy for peanut allergy. N Engl J Med. 2018;379:1991-2001.