As patients we worry about today and will we be better or worse tomorrow so we barely glimpse the broader medical dynamic that is remaking the very concept of medical care.
There has never been a time like this in human history. Between 1750 and 1850 medical knowledge doubled. It doubled again by 1920. By 2008 it was doubling in about 7.6 years and by 2004 it was about 3.4 years. It is projected that by 2020 medical knowledge will double in 73 days. It is inconceivable that our systems can deliver that knowledge to us in the form of treatments at a rapid pace like that but can you imagine what the great leaps might be that may be possible for us as patients.
If you have to be ill, this is a good time to be doing it. Despite all the frustration, ineffectiveness, lethargy, and downright pigheadedness that can be the patient experience, help is on the way.
This a link to an article a good friend wrote. I'll tempt you with a sample but it deserves reading in its entirety.
- There are 114,000 sick patients on the organ transplant list in the U.S., but about 8,000 people die every year waiting for the organs they need, according to data from the United Network for Organ Sharing.
- Start-ups have invented new organ profusion machines to keep donor organs alive until surgery to reduce organ death and boost the number of organs available for transplant.
- Scientists are using gene-editing techniques to make it possible to transplant pig kidneys in humans.
- The Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville is doing stem cell research to develop ways to repair and regenerate damaged organs.
Every year, tens of thousands of Americans wait in what they call "medical purgatory" for an organ transplant. In 2018 there were more than 36,529 organ transplants, a number that has risen by 20 percent over the last five years. However, there are far more sick patients waiting on the transplant list — about 114,000 total, according to data from United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), which serves as the national Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network under federal contract. That's why an average of 8,000 people die every year waiting for the organs they need.
Now researchers, doctors and policymakers are exploring new strategies to increase the supply of organs needed to meet demand. Among the promising pursuits: advancing stem cell research in an effort to heal damaged organ tissue; developing biofabrication techniques in an effort to fast-track the 3D manufacturing of human organs, and using gene-editing techniques to find safe ways to use pig organs for human transplants.