Cleveland Clinic names its top medical innovations for 2017

Cleveland Clinic has released its annual list of its anticipated top medical breakthroughs of the coming year. Here are the top five:

* The microbiome. No surprises there. We are filled with bacteria, with the average number ranging anywhere from 30 trillion to 50 trillion. That bacteria plays a huge role in human health, with the gut microbiota becoming the subject of extensive research in recent years. 

* Diabetes drugs that reduce heart disease and death. Two new drugs were recently approved to treat diabetes: Novo Nordisk’s liraglutide and Eli Lilly’s empagliflozin, which are showing some early, positive signs in helping patients with diabetes avoid heart disease. 

* CAR-T therapy for leukemia and lymphoma. Through T-cell therapy, scientists want to use the human immune system to fight diseases like cancer.

* Liquid biopsies to find cancer. Already, oncologists are taking cancer patients’ blood to monitor and track the progression of the disease, and how it’s responding to treatment. It’s an alternative to costly and invasive tissue-based biopsies. 

* Automated car safety features and driverless capabilities. Makes sense, given the current rate of 38,000 fatal road accidents each year. Will new technologies, like adaptive cruise control and lane assist, be the new seat-belts? 

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