Top 10 Medical Innovations for 2009

The Cleveland Clinic has unveiled its latest Top 10 Medical Innovations list, highlighting technologies that are expected to have a big impact in 2009. Announced during Cleveland Clinic’s 2008 Medical Innovation Summit,, the list was determined by a panel of Cleveland Clinic physicians and scientists.

10. Private Sector National Health Information Exchange: A comprehensive system of electronic health records that link consumers, general practitioners, specialists, hospitals, pharmacies, nursing homes, and insurance companies is in the process of being established. Primarily a private-sector effort, this computerized system has the potential to replace paper-based medical files with digitized records of patients’ complete medical history.

9. Doppler-Guided Uterine Artery Occlusion: Fibroid tumors occur in upwards of 40% of women older than 35, triggering pelvic pain, pregnancy complications, and heavy bleeding. There is a new, non-invasive approach to treat fibroids called Doppler-guided uterine artery occlusion, or DUAO.

8. Integration of Diffusion Tensor Imaging (Tractography)
: Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is the new technology that allows neuroscientists to non-invasively probe the long-neglected half of the brain called white matter, with its densely packed collection of intertwining insulated projections of neurons that join all four of the brain’s lobes, allowing them to communicate with each other.

7. LESS and NOTES Applications
: LESS (laparoendoscopic single-site surgery) takes laparoscopic surgery to an entirely new level by reducing the process to a small cut in the belly button. NOTES (natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery) bypasses normal laparoscopic incisions altogether. Instead, the surgeon gets to an appendix, prostate, kidney, or gallbladder through one of the body’s natural cavities, such as the mouth, vagina, or colon.

6. New Strategies for Creating Vaccines for Avian Flu: A newer vaccine approach that uses a mock version of the bird virus called a virus-like particle (VLP) may offer a better solution to protect people against infection from the deadly avian virus.

5. Percutaneous Mitral Valve Regurgitation Repair
: Using a tiny barbed, wishbone-shaped device, the heart is fixed non-surgically from the inside out. A catheter is carefully guided through the femoral vein in the groin, up to the heart’s mitral valves. The clip on the tip of a catheter is then clamped on the center of the valve leaflets, which holds them together and quickly helps restore normal blood flow out through the leaflets.

4. Multi-Spectral Imaging Systems: The imaging system is attached to a standard microscope, where researchers can stain up to four proteins using different colors and look at tissue samples with 10 to 30 different wavelengths, allowing for the accumulation of more information than is currently available. This helps researchers to better understand the complicated signaling pathways in cancer cells, and to develop more targeted therapies, which might allow physicians to better personalize treatment for individual patients.

3. Diaphragm Pacing System: Four electrodes are connected to the phrenic nerves on the diaphragm. Wires from the electrodes run to and from a control box about the size of two decks of playing cards worn outside the body. When the electrodes are stimulated by current, the diaphragm contracts and air is sucked into the lungs. When not stimulated, the diaphragm relaxes and air moves out of the lungs.

2. Warm Organ Perfusion Device: Once a heart becomes available for transplant, surgeons have just four hours before the organ begins to decay. This device, though, recreates conditions within the body to keep the heart pumping for up to 12 hours. T

1. Use of Circulating Tumor Cell Technology: A blood test that measures circulating tumor cells – cancer cells that have broken away from an existing tumor and entered the bloodstream – has the ability to detect recurrent cancer sooner, while also predicting how well treatment is working and the patient’s probable outcome. The test results will allow physicians to better monitor a patient’s progress, adjusting treatment if necessary.

Previously: Top 10 Medical Innovations for 2008

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