Cleveland Clinic on Wednesday released its annual list of the top 10 medical innovations the health system predicts will "transform health care" in 2022.
For the list, a panel of Cleveland Clinic scientists and physicians led by D. Geoffrey Vince, the health system's executive director of innovations and chair of biomedical engineering, interviewed nearly 100 Cleveland Clinic thought leaders to compile more than 150 nominations.
To be considered, nominated technologies must:
- Have a significant clinical impact and benefit patients more than existing practices through factors such as improved outcomes, lower costs, the fulfillment of an unmet need, etc.
- Have a high chance of being adopted across the health ecosystem in the coming year
- If applicable, it must be in the process of or exiting clinical trials with published superior results and a high chance of gaining approval in the coming year
- Garner significant human interest in its application or benefits
"At Cleveland Clinic, a shared passion for the delivery of superior care and an embedded culture of innovation foster continuous health care improvement dialogue among our clinicians and researchers," Vince said.
"As such, our experts always have their finger on the pulse of new technologies slated to change the face of health care. The Top 10 Medical Innovations program was launched to share their insight with the broader health care community, and year after year, our professionals continue to successfully predict device, technology, theme and therapy advances," he added.
The top innovation
The panel predicts that the next generation of mRNA vaccinology will be the most important innovation in 2022.
According to Cleveland Clinic, there has been a marked increase in interest over the past two decades in RNA-based technologies for the development of prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines. Both preclinical and clinical trials have proven that mRNA vaccines typically illicit a safe and long-lasting immune response in humans.
Furthermore, the Covid-19 pandemic underscored the need for rapid vaccine development that can be easily distributed around the world. Because of the groundwork laid by previous mRNA research, researchers were able to develop, produce, approve, and deploy an effective Covid-19 vaccine less than a year after the SARS-CoV-2 virus emerged.
Moving forward, Cleveland Clinic predicts that this innovative technology has the potential to be used to manage some of health care's most challenging diseases quickly and efficiently.
2. PSMA-targeted therapy in prostate cancer
Every year, over 200,000 American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer—the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men in the United States. If it is detected early by PSMA PET scans, recurrent prostate cancer can be treated using a targeted approach with stereotactic body radiation therapy, surgery, and systemic therapy.
3. A new treatment for the reduction of low-density lipoproteins (LDL-C)
The treatment, known as Inclisiran, is an injectable small interfering RNA that targets the PCSK9 protein. Unlike statins, it requires just two doses per year and provides effective and sustained LDL-C reduction. It was granted FDA approval in December 2021 and has been hailed by many experts as a gamechanger for heart disease patients.
4. Novel drug treatment for Type 2 diabetes
In the United States, one in 10 individuals has diabetes. A once-weekly injectable dual glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide and glucagon-like peptide receptor agonist treatment activate receptors that cause the pancreas to release insulin, effectively limiting blood sugar spikes after a meal.
5. Breakthrough treatment for postpartum depression
In 2019, FDA approved an intravenous infusion treatment to treat postpartum depression. According to Cleveland Clinic, this treatment is groundbreaking because it targets the signals researchers believe to be deficient in hormone-sensitive postpartum depression. Traditional anti-depressants typically take two to four weeks to have a significant effect, but this treatment appears to take effect very quickly.
6. Targeted medication for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)
If approved by its target action date this year, this medication would be the first dedicated to treating HCM, a chronic disease in which the heart muscle contracts excessively. The medication specifically targets heart muscles to reduce abnormal contractions.
7. Non-hormonal treatments for menopause hot flashes
A new group of non-hormonal drugs, known as NK3R antagonists, could offer a viable alternative to hormone therapy for women who experience hot flashes caused by menopause.
8. Implant technology for severe paralysis
This technology uses implanted electrodes to collect movement signals from the brain. Then, it decodes them into movement commands. It has been shown to help restore voluntary motor impulses among patients with severe paralysis.
9. AI for the early detection of sepsis
A tool can detect sepsis in real time using AI algorithms to identify several key risk factors by monitoring patients' electronic medical records as physicians input information. Flagging high-risk patients can help facilitate early intervention.
10. Predictive analytics and hypertension
While effective treatment options for hypertension exist, most adults aren't aware they have the condition until they experience a serious health crisis. Providers can use predictive analytics to help identify the warning signs of hypertension before it becomes severe and improve outcomes, potentially preventing hypertension and many other diseases altogether. (Cleveland Clinic's Top 10 Medical Innovations list, accessed 2/17; Haidet, WKYC 3, 2/16; News Wise, 12/15; Adams, Becker's Hospital Review, 2/16)