The past year has seen some incredible medical advances that have, for all intents and purposes, changed the face of the medical industry. From cancer research to amazing transplant results, a number of unbelievable procedures and projects have taken place in 2018 that we want to highlight. Take a look at some of the most important medical advances of 2018, below…

A Cancer ‘Vaccine’ Eliminated Tumours in Mice

Researchers at Stanford University announced in January 2018 that they were recruiting lymphoma patients in a clinical trial to test a potential cancer ‘vaccine’. This news came after the researchers had successfully eliminated tumours in mice, by means of two immune-stimulating agents.

Miniscule amounts of the agents were injected directly into the solid tumours of the mice, and all traces of cancer were eliminated in the animals. For reference, 87 of the 90 mice injected were cured of their cancer. Whilst cancer reoccurred in three of the mice, the tumours were eliminated again after a second treatment.

You can find the press release here.

Migraine Reduction via Preventative Injection

Although migraines are the third most prevalent illness in the world, preventative and curative measures have been largely absent for the condition until 2018. In May of 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (United States) announced the approval of a preventative injection available to patients. The drug Aimovig can be administered once a month and is recorded to reduce the frequency of patients’ migraines, according to three clinical trials.

The drug is said to reduce migraine attacks by blocking the activity of calcitonin gene-related peptide, a molecule that is linked with migraine attacks.

Promising Prognosis on Male Contraceptive Pill

Researchers at University of Washington announced in March 2018 that their trial for male contraceptive pills was successful. The drug dimethandrolone undecanoate (DMAU) is said to work in a similar way to female contraceptive pills, by combining a male hormone and a progestin to inhibit the production of gametes (in males, sperm).
The pill is taken once a day and is proven safe for patients to consume. Side effects include weight gain and a decrease in HDL, also called ‘good’ cholesterol.

PARP Inhibitors Revolutionise Cancer Treatment

More waves in the cancer research community: PARP inhibitors have been developed that help to kill off cancer cells in breast and ovarian cancer patients.

PARP, or poly-ADP ribose polymerase, is a protein found in our somatic cells that helps damaged DNA cells to repair themselves. The success of the drug lies in the nature of PARP: the drug inhibits the protein from repairing the DNA in cancer cells, and thus the cell dies.

Clinical trials conducted in October 2018 found that Lynparza from AstraZeneca greatly reduced the risk of ovarian cancer. When administered in conjunction with chemotherapy, Lynparza halted or reversed tumour growth in 60% of patients over three years of trial. This is in contrast to the 27% of patients whose tumours were halted or reversed, who were given chemotherapy only.

Lynparza has been approved for advanced ovarian cancer and metastatic breast cancer.

Woman Gives Birth via Transplanted Uterus

New doors have been opened for people who are unable to get pregnant due to uterine issues; the first baby has been born from a woman who received a uterus transplant

On 4 December 2018, researchers reported that the first live birth had occurred from a woman who had received a uterus transplant from a deceased donor. A transplant from a live donor was successful back in 2014, but this is the first case where a live birth has been recorded.

The 32-year-old woman suffered from congenital uterine absence, and subsequently underwent a uterine transplant in Brazil from a deceased donor. Doctors transferred an embryo via in-vitro fertilisation into her womb only seven months after the transplant.

The woman experienced a normal pregnancy, and her baby was born via Caesarean section on December 15, at about 36 weeks of gestation.

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