Modern medicine is a wide and varied field which is driven at the moment by Cutting Edge technology. Just like throughout time when technology was the driving force for all innovation now are the advancements such as advanced data imaging, 3D printing, and advanced genetic techniques are driving not only our understanding of the human body and what can go wrong and how it works, but also new and innovative ways to address certain illnesses. For the purpose of these blog post let us goes through certain elements and discuss the ways in which new technology as well as old technologies are being used in new ways to address in cells to specific illnesses. Let us discuss the HIV/AIDS epidemic and new ways that new technologies as well as old medications are being used in new ways in order to stem the tide and decrease the proliferation of this disease.
HIV is a virus which originally came from monkeys that depletes the immune system of those who have it leaving them susceptible to other infections that normally would not be serious but become life-threatening with the absence of a functioning immune system. What took a cocktail of sometimes 20 different drugs to address all of the multiple ways that the HIV affected the body now has been condensed into a regiment of two pills taken every day that not only reduce the viral load in the infected person’s bloodstream to almost zero but also makes it much less likely that they will pass on the virus to someone else.
The serious development recently to come back not the virus itself but it’s transmission has been the development of pre-exposure prophylaxis or prep as a means of stemming the flow of transmission from one person to another sexually or with needles. This is been developed by taking what was before developed and used as a post-exposure prophylaxis called Truvada which is a combination of two other drugs but when taken pre-exposure make the body immune to infection. Essentially this renders the person immunity against the HIV. This is a perfect example of a way in which a medicine which is not new in and of itself is being used in a new and radical way in order to treat and inoculate against disease.
To modern medicine is not just the advent of new technology it is also the use of current medication and technology in brand new ways. This sort of off label use of different medication for new purposes is something that is still going on and is helping to fight diseases in new ways. For instance did you know that Viagra which is the common and popular erectile dysfunction pill was actually first developed as a way of treating high blood pressure because it is a vasodilator that opens up the blood vessels. It was discovered that the side effects was also sexual and this became its primary use. Now this is a different sort of modern medicine technology that of the genetic splicing parking now be used to address diseases. Disease can happen from many different sources from a virus to environmental stresses but also genetics play ever expanding role in certain diseases. Certain diseases are predisposed from birth based on the activation of certain genes in the DNA of certain people. Now with the development of the CRISPR, gene splicing has become so specific and pinpoint accurate that very small sections of genetic code can be activated or deactivated in order to get a favorable outcome. This is a huge development and we will discuss its ramifications further in our next blog post.