Medical Breakthroughs That Gave Us Hope In 2023!

“From gene therapy to Alzheimer’s treatment, predicting pancreatic cancer to pioneering reproduction methods, there were many promising discoveries in 2023 that will influence health and medicine.”

We curated the following story titled “7 Medical Breakthroughs That Gave Us Hope in 2023” by Sanjay Mishra for National Geographic, because, well, hope serves as a sparkling white veneer over today’s glaring disappointments.

Gene-editing “scissor “tool CRISPR-Cas9, courtesy Johns Hopkins University.

1. The world’s first CRISPR-based gene therapy becomes available

The world’s first CRISPR-based gene therapy was approved by drug regulators in the United Kingdom on November 16, and the U.S. on December 8. It treats sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia, genetic disorders that affect the red blood cells. Hemoglobin, found in red blood cells, carries oxygen around the body. The errors in hemoglobin genes create fragile red blood cells that cause a shortage of oxygen in the body, a condition known as anemia. Patients with sickle cell disease also suffer from infections and severe pain when sickled cells form clots and impede blood flow, while patients with beta thalassemia must receive blood transfusion every three to four weeks.

The newly approved gene therapy, named CASGEVY, corrects faulty hemoglobin genes in a patient’s bone marrow stem cells so they can produce functioning hemoglobin. A patient’s stem cells are harvested from their bone marrow, edited in a laboratory, and then infused back into the patient. A single treatment can potentially cure some patients for life.

Two inventors who fine-tuned CRISPR (short for “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats”) to work as a precise gene-editing tool, Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry just three years ago in 2020.

This is just the first of dozens of potential treatments in development to treat other genetic diseases, cancer, or even infertility.

2. The first drug that slows down Alzheimer’s disease gets approved…

Continue reading here.

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