Time is precious in responding to stroke victims. The development of a mobile stroke treatment unit equipped to handle the specific needs of most individuals affected by stroke was hailed by Cleveland Clinic as one of the Top 10 Medical Innovations for 2015.

1) Mobile Stroke Unit ?High-tech ambulances bring the emergency department straight to the patient with stroke symptoms. Using telemedicine, in-hospital stroke neurologists interpret symptoms via broadband video link, while an onboard paramedic, critical care nurse, and CT technologist perform neurological evaluation and administer t-PA after stroke detection, providing faster, effective treatment for the affected patient.

2) Dengue Fever Vaccine ?Mosquito bites can transmit this dangerous bug, and it is estimated up to 100 million people in more than 100 countries contract the dengue virus each year. A vaccine has been developed and tested, however, and is expected to be submitted to regulatory groups in 2015, with commercialization expected later that year.

3) Cost-effective, Fast, Painless Blood-Testing ?This new process of blood collection uses a drop of blood drawn from the fingertip in a virtually painless procedure. Test results are available within hours of the original draw and are estimated to cost as little as 10% of the traditional Medicare reimbursement.

4) PCSK9 Inhibitors for Cholesterol Reduction ?Effective statin medications have been used to reduce cholesterol in heart disease patients for more than 2 decades, but some people are intolerant and cannot benefit from them. Several PCSK9 inhibitors, or injectable cholesterol-lowering drugs, are in development for those who don’t benefit from statins. The FDA is expected to approve the first PCSK9 in 2015 for its ability to significantly lower LDL cholesterol to levels never seen before.

5) Antibody-Drug Conjugates ?Chemotherapy, the only form of treatment available for treating some cancers, destroys cancer cells and harms healthy cells at the same time. A promising new approach for advanced cancer selectively delivers cytotoxic agents to tumor cells while avoiding normal, healthy tissue.

6) Checkpoint Inhibitors ?Immune checkpoint inhibitors have allowed physicians to make significantly more progress against advanced cancer than they’ve achieved in decades. Combined with traditional chemotherapy and radiation treatment, the novel drugs boost the immune system and offer significant, long-term cancer remissions for patients with metastatic melanoma, and there is increasing evidence that they can work on other types of malignancies.

7) Leadless Cardiac Pacemaker ?Cardiac pacemaker technology has been slow to evolve. Broken leads can cause infection sites in 2% of cases among individuals who have pacemakers. Vitamin-sized wireless cardiac pacemakers can be implanted directly in the heart without surgery and eliminate malfunction complications and restriction on daily physical activities.

8) New Drugs for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis ?Nearly 80,000 American adults with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis may breathe easier in 2015 with the recent FDA approval of two new experimental drugs. Pirfenidone and nintedanib slow the disease progress of the lethal lung disease, which causes scarring of the air sacs. Prior to these developments, there was no known treatment for IPF, in which life expectancy after diagnosis is just 3 to 5 years.

9) Single-Dose Intra-Operative Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer ?For most women with early-stage breast cancer, a lumpectomy is performed, followed by weeks of radiation therapy to reduce the likelihood of recurrence. Intra-operative radiation therapy, or IORT, focuses the radiation on the tumor during surgery as a single dose, and is said to be proven effective as whole breast radiation.

10) New Drug for Heart Failure ?Angiotensin-receptor neprilysin inhibitor, or ARNI, has reportedly been granted “fast-track status” by the FDA because of its survival advantage over the ACE inhibitor enalapril, the current “gold standard” for treating patients with heart failure. The unique drug compound represents a paradigm shift in heart failure therapy.

[Source: Cleveland Clinic]