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8 achievements in medicine in 2018, which can save your life

This year was very promising for medicine: it was achieved through overcoming blindness and paralysis, progress in areas such as cancer control and infertility treatment.

BBC Mundo presents some of the medical milestones achieved in 2018, which will be developed in 2019.

1- Return to walking

Two groups of scientists helped paralyzed people walk again, stimulating their spinal cord with electrical impulses.

A spinal cord injury — the result of a car or sports accident — prevents the brain's instructions from reaching the muscles, and this leads to paralysis.

But thanks to some electrical implants In the spinal cord, lost signals can reach their destination.

These methods are still experimental, but in one case the patient uses the device in his daily life.

In another case, there is evidence that the damaged nerves in the spinal cord began to regenerate,

2 – Fighting cancer

Judy Perkins survived her incurable cancer with innovative therapy.

Perkins had tumors the size of a tennis ball in the liver and secondary cancers all over his body. Doctors gave him three months to live until the doctors from the National Cancer Institute in the United States decided to try a new one. "living medicine",


Your tumor has been genetically analyzed to identify specific changes that may make it visible to your immune system.

Of the 62 genetic abnormalities found, only four suggested potential lines of attack.

And so began the search.

The patient’s immune system attacks the tumor, but the white blood cells ultimately lose in the fight against cancer.

Scientists investigated Perkins' leukocytes and found those capable of attacking cancer.

Then they grew them in large quantities in the laboratory and injected them into their bodies (about 90,000 million) with medicines to relieve the brakes of the immune system.

This new immunotherapy procedure led to Perkins cancer remission.

Another work in the field of immunotherapy against cancer received the Nobel Prize in medicine.

3 – New womb, new baby

For the first time, a healthy baby was born from the transplanted uterus of a dead woman.

Previous attempts failed, and so many thought it would be impossible.


Mother, a 32-year-old woman, was born without a uterus due to Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome, a disease that does not cause either the vagina, the uterus, or the uterus for proper formation.

The donor had three children, and he died from a cerebral hemorrhage.

The procedure was carried out in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Six weeks after the implantation of the uterus, the patient began a period.

Seven months later, fertilized eggs were implanted, and after normal pregnancyThe girl was born with a caesarean section of about 2.5 kg.

4- First children genetically edited (probably)

A scientist in China has caused the biggest hype in science in the years when he claimed that he created the world's first genetically edited children.

The twins appear to be healthy.


Embryos were obtained by processing auxiliary fertilization.

Investigator He Jiankui claims that he changed the DNA of children to protect them from HIV.

However, details of the procedure are not publishedwith which his statements must be accepted with skepticism.

His statement triggered a deep ethical debate about whether a procedure should have been carried out or not.

5 – Look again

Scientists have achieved outstanding success in treating the leading cause of blindness in the world: age-related macular degenerationAlso called maculopathy.

The macula is the part of the eye that allows us to see what is in front of us, whether it is face recognition, watching TV or reading a book.


It consists of cones and sticks that perceive light. Behind them is a layer of nutrient cells.

When this layer is destroyed, macular degeneration and blindness occur.

Scientists discovered how to form a layer of supporting cells, and implanted them in the form of a patch on the damaged layer.

Patients undergoing this treatment they restored central vision not only read, but also see faces that were previously perceived as a blur.

6 – Laboratory eggs

A team from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, first developed human eggs in a laboratory.

Women are born with immature eggs in the ovaries, which fully develop after puberty.


After decades of work, you can now develop these eggs until maturity outside the ovaries.

This requires strict control of laboratory conditions, including the level of oxygen, hormones and proteins that stimulate growth, as well as the environment in which these eggs grow.

The technique can be used to develop new ways preserve the fertility of girls undergoing cancer treatment.

It also provides an opportunity to explore the eggs, in the process of development of which many questions remain that science has not answered.

7 – Cancer test?

Scientists have taken an important step towards one of the main goals of medicine: the development of a universal blood test to detect cancer.

A team from Johns Hopkins University, USA, conducted a test with a method that detects eight common forms of the disease.


Tumors secrete small traces of their mutated DNA and proteins that they form into the bloodstream.

The CancerSeek test looks for mutations in the 16 genes that usually appear in cancer, and in the 8 proteins that are normally secreted in the disease.

The test was tested on more than 1000 patients with cancer of the ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas, esophagus, colon, lung and breast, which did not spread to other tissues.

The test turned out effective in70% of cancer cases.

8 – Microbes, the hidden half of our body

The enormous importance of microbes to our health is a problem that continues to be studied.

This year, the most common form of cancer in children has been attributed to our modern life without germs.


Acute lymphoblastic leukemia affects one of 2,000 children.

Mel Greaves, a professor at the Cancer Research Institute in the UK, gathered 30 years of evidence that the immune system can become malignant if it does not "see" enough germs from the first stages of life.

The purpose of this study is not to blame parents for being extremely clean, but to show the cost of progress in society and medicine, for example, in drinking water.

The long-term goal is to give children a safe portion of bacteria — in yogurt — so that their immune systems can exercise.

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