Mind-Blowing Medical Marvels

Mind-Blowing Medical Marvels

Ideas, inventions, and innovations happen within Indiana medical organizations every single day, sometimes in truly incredible ways. 2019 has already brought us three major announcements that could change the lives of people all over the world.


A Blood Test for Pain

A breakthrough test developed by Indiana University School of Medicine researchers to measure pain in patients was announced earlier this year. Researchers are hoping this new development could help stem the tide of the opioid crisis in Indiana and throughout the rest of the nation.

Researchers tracked hundreds of participants at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis to identify biomarkers in the blood that can help objectively determine how severe a patient’s pain is. The blood test, the first of its kind, would allow physicians far more accuracy in treating pain, as well as a better long-term look at the patient’s medical future.

“When we started this work, it was a farfetched idea. But we have developed a prototype for a blood test that can objectively tell doctors if the patient is in pain, and how severe that pain is,” said Professor Alexander Niculescu, MD, PhD, lead researcher of the study. “It’s very important to have an objective measure of pain, as pain is a subjective sensation. Until now we have had to rely on patients self-reporting or the clinical impression the doctor has.”

During the study, researchers looked at biomarkers found in the blood – in this case molecules that reflect disease severity. Much like as glucose serves as a biomarker to diabetes, these biomarkers allow doctors to assess the severity of the pain the patient is experiencing, and provide treatment in an objective, quantifiable manner.

The blood test helps physicians match the biomarkers in the patient’s blood with potential treatment options. Like a scene out of CSI, researchers utilize a prescription database – similar to fingerprint databases employed by the FBI – to match the pain biomarkers with profiles of drugs and natural compounds cataloged in the database.

This study opens the door to precision medicine for pain. By treating and prescribing medicine more appropriately to the individual person, this prototype may help alleviate the dilemmas that have contributed to the current opioid epidemic.

Additionally, study experts discovered biomarkers that not only match with non-addictive drugs that can treat pain, but can also help predict when someone might experience pain in the future – helping to determine if a patient is exhibiting chronic, long-term pain which might result in future emergency room visits.

The study was supported by an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award and a VA Merit Award. Other investigators involved in the study were Helen Le-Niculescu, PhD, Daniel Levey, Kyle Roseberry, Katherine Soe, MD, Jordan Rogers, Faisal Khan, MD, Tammy Jones, Seth Judd, Morgan McCormick, MD, Ann Wessel, Andrea Williams, Sunil Kurian and Fletcher White, MS, PhD.


Developments in Robotically Assisted Spine Surgery

Warsaw-based Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc., a global musculoskeletal healthcare company, announced it has received FDA 510(k) clearance for the new ROSA® ONE Spine System for robotically assisted minimally invasive and complex spine surgeries.

According to the company, “ROSA ONE Spine combines robotics and navigation while delivering a unique real-time patient ‘dynamic tracking’ capability. The platform features 3D intraoperative planning software in addition to a navigation suite of technologies designed to improve implant as well as instrument placement accuracy and predictability.”

“ROSA ONE Spine functions as a dual robotics and navigation technology solution for minimally invasive and complex thoracolumbar spine procedures,” said Aure Bruneau, Zimmer Biomet’s Group President, Spine, CMF and Thoracic and Surgery Assisting Technology.


Lowering the Cost of Insulin

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 10 percent of the U.S. population – about 30.3 million people – has diabetes. Another 84.1 million have prediabetes, a condition that if not treated often leads to type 2 diabetes within five years. For many of these people, the drug insulin is an essential, life-saving medication they absolutely have to have on hand.

Fortunately, Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Company made a major announcement this year that’s expected to help individuals and families living with diabetes. The company will be introducing a lower-priced version of Humalog® (insulin lispro injection 100 units/mL) in the United States. This new version will have a list price 50 percent lower than the current Humalog list price.

“Solutions that lower the cost of insulin at the pharmacy have been introduced in recent months, but more people need help. We’re eager to bring forward a low-priced rapid-acting insulin,” said David A. Ricks, Lilly’s chairman and CEO. “While this change is a step in the right direction, all of us in the health care community must do more to fix the problem of high out-of-pocket costs for Americans living with chronic conditions. We hope our announcement is a catalyst for positive change across the U.S. health care system.”

The lower-priced version will be called Insulin Lispro – the same molecule as Humalog – and will be available in vial and pen options. Vials and pens of the lower-priced insulin have been manufactured, and Lilly will work with supply chain partners to make them available in pharmacies as quickly as possible. It will be made available as an authorized generic through a Lilly subsidiary, ImClone Systems.


Lives Will Change

Several of these items could have a major impact on healthcare delivery in the future, not to mention the potential positive impact on human lives. This is Indiana medical science at its best, improving quality of life for people all over the world.


Would You Let a Robot Perform Your Surgery?

It’s worth considering. In tests performed on pigs, surgery-performing machines performed better than human surgeons.
Source: Children’s National Health Center


Click to share!
Category Features, IT & Tech