What are some of the most important advancements in the past ten years and how have they changedpatient treatment outcomes for the better? Read this article to find out.

Fecal transplants

These transplants involve removing healthy bacteria from feces and transplanting it into a patient’s colon following complications, which can occur for a variety of reasons, such as prolonged use of antibiotics. Trials of fecal transplants are ongoing and showing great promise in the treatment of life-threatening conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, but also non-life-threatening ones that cause a poor quality of life, such as autism and irritable bowel syndrome.

These transplants have been used to treat people infected with C. difficile successfully. Albeit rare, this type of infectious diarrheacauses up to 15,000 deaths a year worldwide.

Microbiome therapy

In the past decade, scientists discovered that the mix of microbes or bacteria in our digestive system could affect our thinking processes and brain functions. There’s also research showing a potential link between the mix of gut bacteria in our bodies and conditions like obesity.

Microbiome therapy, which involves using the body’s bacteria to treat illnesses, has been used to treat mental illness, cancer, metabolic conditions, and other autoimmune disorders. Health care professionals are just beginning to understand the extent, to which gut bacteria affects human health. One day, gut bacteria may be used to treat diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Gene therapy

Gene therapy describes the process of modifying of someone’s DNA to treat the cause of disease instead of the symptoms like most medication on the market. One of the most exciting medical developments in the last decade involves the use of gene therapy technology to treat blood cancers such as leukemia. Recent experiments have also highlighted the potential for gene therapy to be used in reversing breast cancer among other types of cancer. There’s some promise that scientists can use gene therapy to eliminate the need for traditional treatments such as surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy one day.

In 2017, gene therapy was used to treat a teenage boy with sickle cell disease. It has also been used to restore sight in several patients with retinal diseases, successfully build new skin for a patient with a connective tissue disorder, and substantially increase the blood-clotting proteins in patients with hemophilia.

There have also been developments in connection to the use of gene therapy to treat aging symptoms. If gene therapy can treat muscle mass and stem cell depletion effectively, this technology has the potential to slow the human aging process a great deal.