The Biggest Battles in Health Research Today
Medical research remains one of the most important industries in our world. We place such a high value on life and on quality of life that we also place a very high emphasis on the process of preserving it.
Today’s research is not quite like that of generations gone by. Things like smallpox vaccinations were built very heavily on “Eureka!” moments where a major breakthrough took place. But the things being fought today don’t quite fall into that category.
One of the most important things to understand about this research is that it isn’t overnight work. The research and data collection must go on for years before a final determination about efficacy can be made. The odds of a facility staying in the same place for such a prolonged period are slim. Buildings are renovated, funding sources change, projects merge, and so on. The work must be carefully cataloged, transported, and possibly placed in biological storage to protect the integrity of the work.
With that said, here is how modern science is working against some of the most serious health threats today.
While Type II diabetes is largely preventable, we have yet to conquer the sources of Type I diabetes, which becomes active in the patient’s youth. Research is continuing, but in the meantime, we are finding ways to better manage both types.
Insulin pumps and even the potential for an artificial pancreas are options for regulating sugar, and blood sugar is one metric being tracked by some of the biosensing wearables that are in development and early implementation today. With the nonstop monitoring of vitals and other bodily information, medical care can be carefully tailored to the patient’s exact circumstances.
Long-Term Infectious Diseases
In the earliest days of HIV and AIDS, the condition was a death sentence. Doctors were trying endless combinations of antivirals, retrovirals, and countless other drugs, but at best, these cocktails could only delay the inevitable.
Today, things are much different. High-profile people who are HIV-positive, such as retired NBA star “Magic” Johnson, are living longer, better lives due to the development of better drug regimes that are keeping the virus at bay. The quest to kill it all together is ongoing, and medical research continues to pour resources into this fight.
There are few people who can say they haven’t been touched by cancer. Everyone has had a friend, a relative, a co-worker, or at least an acquaintance who has been diagnosed with cancer.
Thanks to the hard work of a variety of awareness and prevention campaigns, many cases of cancer have been caught in early, treatable stages, or have been avoided altogether. Yet there remain a number of persistent forms that are claiming lives far too soon.
The long process of developing cancer and the typical long course of treatment really underscores our earlier point about the long duration of medical research, but with cancer, it is paying off. In addition to interventions with chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, research is quickly finding that the body’s own immune system could ultimately prove the most powerful weapon against cancer.
Medical research continues to have a central role in the overall health of the world’s population. As old foes fall, it seems that new ones continue to emerge, so it seems there is no end in sight to the importance of quality trials of drugs, therapies, and genes, conducted in a huge number of facilities by devoted, skilled people all over the nation and all over the world. Together, these resources make our quest to end every possible health threat more likely than ever to meet a successful ending.