The year 2020 was, in every way imaginable, a challenge for every one of us. As the spread of COVID-19 altered every area of life, many of us felt that life became consumed by the pandemic, and as though very little else was able to emerge from the year unscathed.
It goes without saying that the medical world was put under unrivalled strain throughout 2020, but that’s not to say that it did not experience its fair share of good news during those difficult months. Here are just three of the most positive news stories from the medical world in 2020.
- June Medical Continued to Raise the Bar for Surgeons Across the Globe
Surgery has come an incredibly long way – beyond any recognisability, in most cases – since those early days of development, and even now it continues to evolve with every passing year. These evolutions are, however, often so specific and small that they are missed by mainstream media – even in spite of the remarkable new potential they offer to surgeons and patients the world over.
One paradigmatic example of this lies in June Medical’s self-retaining retractor – one that offers significant improvements on the design of the nonetheless innovative Lone Star retractor, by introducing single-handed adjustments that limit the need for additional personnel in the OR, and an easily adjusted light to ensure that the surgeon’s field of vision is improved beyond measure throughout the procedure.
- No Less than 49 Existing Medications Were Found to Kill Cancer Cells
Hunches have long since driven the world of medical innovation, and yet there remain plenty of serendipitous moments wherein even the researchers conducting the experiments themselves are surprised by the results.
In early 2020, researchers conducting systematic testing of existing pharmaceuticals uncovered an “unexpectedly large” number of drugs developed for purposes that were unrelated to oncology capable of inhibiting the growth of cancerous cells, without damaging normal, healthy cells in the process.
This paves the way for plenty of new breakthroughs in the world of cancer treatment. Rather than devoting years to extensive safety testing, researchers can focus their efforts on drugs that have already received approval for dispensation, meaning that myriad hoops new drugs are forced to jump through before they can be made available to patients who stand to benefit from them will be circumvented, and effective treatment can be implemented sooner rather than later.
- The US is on Track to Eventually Eliminate Cervical Cancer as a Public Health Problem
While cervical cancer is a relatively common form of the disease, it remains far more preventable than others. Largely caused by infection with the human papillomavirus, the risk has been gradually diminishing since the roll out of the HPV vaccine back in 2006.
At the same time, calls for women to undergo regular screening in order to identify any cause for concern before it is able to develop into a significant problem have enabled medical practitioners to practice early detection, and further lower the risk of women developing cervical cancer.
Now, according to a report released in February 2020, the US is on track to eliminate new cases of cervical cancer altogether within the next two decades – even with no additional efforts to increase the rate of vaccination or screening.
Considering the toll this disease has taken on women throughout the centuries, this latest development represents an incredible step forward for the medical world.