A research team has recently discovered a chemical that can stop the death of the brain tissue that causes Alzheimer’s and could also potentially treat Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and other diseases that make the infected forget their own families. However, more research needs to be done in order to find a drug that can be safely taken by patients.
So how far has the medicine progressed in relation to the 8 most common and dangerous diseases?
Half a million people die from Influenza each year. This virus is in constant mutation and that means that a new vaccine has to be developed each time. The body of a Victorian diplomat who died during the 1918 flu and has been frozen in liquid nitrogen is now being studied for a possible light at the end of the tunnel. It is believed that modern medicine is very close to find a cure that could stop the disease forever with just one injection or spray.
At least there are vaccines for Meningitis A and C for now. The missing B type has been a lot tougher to fight and millions have been spent in order to find a cure. In January this year the drug Bexsero has been licensed but it hasn’t been in use so far. Apparently countries don’t trust its effectiveness yet and nobody wants to be the guinea pig.
Globally, as of 2010, 285 million people had diabetes. It is more common in the developed countries and all forms of this disease are treatable thanks to insulin becoming available in 1921. Researchers are trying hard to find ways to stop it within the next few years, but a healthy lifestyle and diet are key to prevent it - and also when under treatment.
Cardiovascular disease or CVDs are the number one cause of death globally. It has been suggested that the key to the cure is in regenerative medicine and that is now being studied as a first priority assignment in many hospitals and colleges. By the way, it's doesn't only happen to old people!
Medicine has achieved a 70% rate of survival on their patients 10 years after being diagnosed with the disease. It is one of the most common types of cancer in men and there is still no screening programme -or enough data to work with-, but funding has helped to achieve big advances over the last few years. Hopefully many more to come.
Being the most common cause of cancer death in women worldwide and with plenty of research done so far, scientists have come up with Herceptin, which had an effective treatment in 20% of the patients for now and could prevent two-thirds of the cases within the next 20 years.
This is one of the most common causes of cancer death in infants and older children. Survival rates have increased from 10% to 40% and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, UK has created a DNA database from 4,000 patients to find the best treatments.
Although it appeared 30 years ago and billions have been spent on its research, there still is no cure other than a cocktail of retroviral drugs that helps stop its spread. There have been a couple of extraordinary cases such as the baby born in March this years who was cured of HIV within two days of life, or the HIV-positive Timothy Ray Brown, who received a bone-marrow stem-cell transplant to treat leukaemia from an HIV immune donor and this was passed on to Browns, who was declared cured. But these are exceptions, so until a real cure has been found: wrap it up before you f*ck it up!