Genetically modified babies, vaccines against HIV, victory against cancer without much hope … Although there are many fields that remain open, 2018 has been a great year in medicine, the year in which a name echoed above all, Pedro Cavadas from Spain, a god for those who have lost all hope.
The year that was laid off has been a great year for many in the medical field. Great progress has been fortunately that many professionals have achieved a lot of effort and hours of research. Unfortunately, the others followed the little miracle who continued to reject the arrival.
Maybe The Valencia Pedro Cavadas is responsible for one of the most interesting news in 2018 in terms of medicine. The list of miracles continues to swell successful professional careers filled with light and hopefully, continue to add even more. And yes, calling miracles for your surgery is not excessive. His long medical career, "impossible" cases which he gave his solution and altruistic side, made him more than worthy of the nickname with which the world knew him, the "miracle doctor".
Cavadas has been responsible for a milestone such as the first face transplant in Spain, it is the first in the world to transplant arms as tall as a woman and bilateral leg transplants, also throughout the world, in addition to many other extraordinary operations. And that is, as he realized, he has a "habit of not saying nothing."
One & # 39; lamp & # 39; that is Wilmer Arias, a 28-year-old boy who was paralyzed at the age of 9 because of stray bullets and that thanks to Valencia surgeons being able to sit without feeling pain, something the patient did, two interventions for. reconstruct the complete separation of the spine and pelvis, He called it "extraordinary" after years of prostration.
Wilmer Arias has switched from being bedridden to being able to move in a wheelchair: "Dr. Pedro Cavadas has given me a second chance to stay alive".
The young man worked in the fields since the age of seven and went to school when he had an accident. "I played nine o'clock with my cousin near the house when stray bullets pierced my neck," he explained. After two and a half months of coma and after surgery, due to immobilization, he began to develop boils in various areas of his body, the most severe in the sacral region, which did not heal and worsened over time.
According to Cavadas himself, a nurse told him about a young man suffering from ulcers in the sacrum that they could not operate in his country, but he "paid no attention" because he did not believe that he could not be operated on. A few months later, at his insistence, he told him to take him to Spain.
"It was a large infection by losing the lower part of the spine and pelvis. I was split in two. It was different from the sacral ulcer. He forced him to stay in bed all day and there were life-threatening situations because he could suffer meningitis and die," he warned .
A program is scheduled multiple intervention: one to clean the affected area and place an external fixator between the two parts, and the other, which lasts eight hours, to join the spine to the pelvis by removing bone and skin from the leg.
After the whole process culminated, the two gave a press conference to explain the baptized as a new "miracle" from a Valencia doctor. "This is a beautiful story and that is why we count it, because of the complicated operations we do every day," said Cavadas, who described Wilmer as a "very tough man" who, although still paralyzed, "can sit down and continue his life. that. "
Now Wilmer has returned to his studies, wants to obtain a master's degree in Digital Technology, enter the world of the Stock Exchange and, in addition, "help anyone who needs to return what they have done for me."
Brazil welcomes the world's first baby conceived in a transplanted uterus
A few days ago magazine Lancet he announced another progress that will mark this 2018. The first baby born in the womb who was transplanted from a deceased donor came to the world in a hospital in Brazil. It is often said that babies come with bread under their arms, but this time comes with hope for thousands of women with fertility problems.
At present, donations from the uterus can only be done from relatives, so the choice is reduced because there are several living donors.
The transplant recipient is a 32-year-old patient with uterine infertility, who underwent uterine surgery, which lasts more than 10 hours, during which the donated organs are connected to blood vessels, arteries, ligaments and channels. vagina.
After seven months the patient does not reject the new organ and menstruates, the fertilized ovule that gives rise to the usual pregnant woman is introduced. The baby is a healthy girl who was born by caesarean section at the age of 35 weeks and three days and weighs about two and a half pounds.
After giving birth, the uterus is removed without finding any abnormalities, and three days later the mother and child receive medical treatment.
Previously, 10 other uterine transplants from deceased donors had been made in the United States, the Czech Republic and Turkey, but this was the first to give birth to a living baby.
Regarding the field of transplantation, and more national coverage, it should be noted that Spain again surpassed in 2017, in the absence of the next annual report, its own record in donations and organ transplants and has remained the world leader for 26 consecutive years, reaching "the best data in its history": 46.9 donors per million population (total 2,183) and 5,259 transplants.
The most effective fight against metastatic cancer
Metastasis, a word that in many cases synonymous with death, can be numbered several days. One of the advances this year, one of the most important, can provide hope in a disease that has cut millions of lives.
A few months ago the news jumped, a 49-year-old woman won the battle for breast cancer with metastasis in other people organs after receiving innovative immunotherapy developed at the National Cancer Institute of USA.
After almost two years no trace of cancer was detected on his body, according to the magazine Natural Medicine Laszlo Radvanyi, scientific director of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, called the test "unprecedented response to advanced breast cancer. "
Treatment consists of extracting lymphocytes from one of the patient's tumors, identifying some that are active against cancer cells, but it is too rare to slow the progress of the disease, multiply it in the laboratory and restore 82,000 million lymphocytes to patients to attack tumors.
New therapies, which have come from the hands of Alena Gros to the Institute of Oncology Vall d 'Hebron (VHIO), are "treatments that offer an alternative for patients who have no alternative." Despite being a big hope, it is personal care that is not ready to be applied on a large scale and which will remain valid until 2024.
In Vall d & # 39; Hebron, the first patient can begin treatment in the second semester of 2019 after the technique for treating lymphocytes in the laboratory has been refined and the necessary permits have been received.
The researchers hope to expand treatment to fight other types of cold tumors in the future besides breast, ovary, pancreas and colorectal.
Precisely cancer, whatever its type, is responsible for millions of deaths worldwide, and future statistics are not encouraging. About 18.1 million people will suffer from cancer for the first time and 9.6 million will die from it in 2018, according to the latest estimates published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an intergovernmental body that is part of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Until now, lung, breast and colorectal cancer are the three main types of cancer in terms of incidence, and they are classified among the first five in terms of death (first, fifth and second respectively). Together, these three types of cancer are responsible for one third of cancer events and the burden of death worldwide.
Stem cells fight HIV
HIV, one of the diseases that, along with cancer, still does not have a definite solution, is well positioned in this year's medical progress section. A group of researchers from Sida IrsiCaixa in Barcelona and Gregorio Marañón Hospital in Madrid have succeeded in removing the virus from the blood and tissue of five patients. After undergoing a stem cell transplant, five of the six HIV-infected patients reduced the presence of the virus to undetectable levels.
Research has confirmed that these patients, who received stem cell transplants, had undetectable viruses in the blood and tissues and even one of them did not even have antibodies, which showed that HIV could have been removed from his body, even though according to experts, "Not detected" does not mean that the virus has been deleted; in other words, it can still exist in organisms.
The finding of the nature of stem cells opens the door to design new treatments to cure AIDS in the future.
Researcher Maria Salgado, co-author of the article in which the study is detailed, explains that the reason why drugs currently do not cure HIV infection is where the virus is stored, cells infected by viruses that remain inactive and not they are detected or destroyed by the immune system.
Unfortunately, the results are final. The next step is to conduct clinical trials, which are controlled by doctors and researchers, to stop antiretroviral treatment in some of these patients and to give them new immunotherapy to check whether there is an increase in viral load and confirmation of whether the virus has been destroyed from the organism.
This research is based on the case of PT & # 39; The Berlin Patient & # 39 ;, named Timothy Brown, people with HIV who in 2008 underwent stem cell transplants to treat leukemia.
These donors have a mutation called CCR5 Delta 32 which makes their blood cells immune to HIV, because it prevents the virus from entering them. Brown stopped taking antiretroviral drugs and 11 years later the virus still did not appear in his blood, which he considered the only person in the world who is cured of HIV.
Since the beginning of the epidemic, More than 70 million people have contracted HIV infection and around 35 million have died. At present, around 37 million people around the world live with HIV, and 22 million are in care.
With regard to diseases and the progress made to eradicate them, we can highlight one of the most controversial in recent years. Chinese scientist and geneticist He Jiankui announced in late November that he had created the first genetically modified baby to make them immune to viruses, raises debates about the ethical boundaries of research, especially when their protagonists are human.
After the debate, the controversial investigator disappeared and today his whereabouts are unknown. The World Health Organization said it would analyze Jiankui's ethical, social and work safety implications, which, although criticized by Chinese authorities, received public subsidies.
Alzheimer's, Ebola and countless diseases continue, and unfortunately will continue, cut the lives of billions of people around the world despite progress, although they help to look to the future with hope. And, who knows, can 2019 be the year in which cancer healing appears?