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Top 10 Medical Innovations for 2015



Which are the up-and-coming technologies and which will have the biggest impact on healthcare in 2015?

Cleveland Clinic's culture of innovation naturally fosters a good deal of discussion about new "game changing" technologies and which ones will have the greatest impact each year. The passion of our clinicians and researchers for getting the best care for patients drives a continuous dialogue on what state-of-the art medical technologies are just over the horizon.

This book was developed to share outside Cleveland Clinic what our clinical leaders are saying to each other and what innovations they feel will help shape healthcare over the next 12 months.


#1 Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit

Each year in the United States, nearly 800,000 people suffer a stroke, or a brain attack. This occurs when an artery that supplies blood to part of the brain becomes blocked or ruptures and leads to bleeding in the brain.  In ischemic strokes, a blood clot is the triggering event, while the remaining 10 percent of strokes are called hemorrhagic and a burst blood vessel or aneurysm is typically the cause.

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#1 Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit

Mobile stroke treatment units have been in use in Ohio and Texas for over a year now, and have shown significant improvements in stroke treatment times. Studies examining patients who use the mobile stroke unit found that CT scans were accomplished 20 minutes sooner and the total treatment time was significantly reduced from an average of 104 minutes in the emergency room to 64 minutes. There is an ongoing study to determine the cost-effectiveness of this treatment option.

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#2 Dengue Vaccine

All it takes is one bite: Dengue is a debilitating virus that’s transmitted to humans by the bite of an Aedes aegypti mosquito that has previously bitten a person infected with the dengue virus. 

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#2 Dengue Vaccine

After 20 years of research, the dengue vaccine will be made commercially available in the Philippines starting October 2015, with the potential to save the Philippian government $8.2 billion per year. Commercialization is expected to follow in 2015 and 2016 for other countries where dengue hits hardest.

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#3 The New Art of Blood Collection and Diagnosis

With the advent of science, blood became a key diagnostic element. Withdrawn from the body, it was isolated and studied. Today, phlebotomy, the process of opening a vein and collecting blood for testing and diagnosis, is regularly used to measure cells, lipids, proteins, sugars, hormones, tumor markers and other blood components.

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#3 The New Art of Blood Collection and Diagnosis

Receiving FDA approval in June 2015, this blood testing platform that only needs a drop of blood now offers over 153 tests for under $10 each, usually at 50% of the typical insurance copay. After a recent deal, consumers can now get these tests performed at various drugstore locations across the nation. 

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#4 PCSK9 Inhibitors for Cholesterol Reduction

Cholesterol, a soft, waxy substance present in cells throughout the body, serves many important functions. However, elevated levels of certain forms of cholesterol are some of the primary drivers in the development of coronary heart disease. 

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#4 PCSK9 Inhibitors for Cholesterol Reduction

This new class of cholesterol-reducing drug was approved by the FDA Advisory Board in June 2015, and it is expected that official FDA approval will follow in the coming months. Doctors are ready to prescribe this drug to 17% of their patients with dangerously high LDL levels, potentially creating a $3 billion market.

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#5 Antibody Drug Conjugates

Scientists have learned more about cancer in the last two decades than had been learned in all the centuries preceding. And even though one million people in the United States develop cancer annually, tremendous advances have been made in cancer biology that have led to significant progress not only in cancer prevention and early detection but in cancer treatment as well.

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#5 Antibody Drug Conjugates

Currently there are over 350 antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) being developed to fight cancer, with previously approved drugs in trials to prove efficacy against a larger variety of cancers. Many pharmaceutical and research companies are investing millions of dollars into the growing ADC market, which is projected to reach $3 billion by 2018. 

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#6 Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

The immune system’s collection of organs, special cells, and molecules is on constant alert to protect us from dangerous infection and disease and keep us healthy. It responds to antigens, or foreign bodies, in a highly coordinated process that employs several types of cells to circulate around the body, scanning for cellular abnormalities and infections.

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#6 Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

Three immune checkpoint inhibitors have been approved for use in patients with melanoma with sales of over $1.5 billion in 2014, and one has been granted priority review for use in lung cancer patients with its approval expected in 2015. Additionally, there are over 80 companies researching 148 immune checkpoint inhibitors associated with various cancers, with 10 in the last phase of clinical trials.

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#7 Leadless Cardiac Pacemaker

The adult heart usually beats between 60 and 100 times a minute at rest, but if a person has bradycardia, a slower than normal heart rate, it indicates a problem with the heart’s electrical system. 

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#7 Leadless Cardiac Pacemaker

Two leadless pacemaker devices have now received the CE mark in Europe and are completing final stage trials in the US, with FDA approval expected in 2016.

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#8 New Medications for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

The lungs are remarkable organs made of spongy tissue that supply oxygen, the life-sustaining gas needed by the body. As the only internal organs that are exposed to the external environment, they are vulnerable to a variety of ailments. Some, like asthma, bronchitis, or even certain cancers, can be cured. However, when it comes to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF, eventual death is a certainty unless the lungs are replaced.

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#8 New Medications for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

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#9 Intraoperative Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer

The American Cancer Society estimates that this year about 233,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will occur among women in the United States. In addition, approximately 63,000 new cases of noninvasive breast cancer—the earliest form—will occur among women in 2014. It’s also projected that 40,000 women will die from breast cancer this year. 

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#9 Intraoperative Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer

IORT for a subset of breast cancer patients is a great alternative to save time and stress caused by traditional whole breast external beam radiation therapy, which usually consists of multiple sessions over a course of 3 weeks. However, recurrence rates for IORT patients were found to be at least double those of EBRT patients, and doctors are exercising caution while awaiting long-term study results before adopting this new method as a standard of care.

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#10 Angiotensin-Receptor Neprilysin Inhibitor for Heart Failure

Heart failure is caused by a weakening of the heart’s ability to pump blood. Between 500,000 and 900,000 new cases of heart failure are diagnosed each year in the United States. This debilitating ailment is now the most common diagnosis in Medicare patients and accounts for 55,000 deaths annually. 

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#10 Angiotensin-Receptor Neprilysin Inhibitor for Heart Failure

This new class of heart failure medication recently received FDA priority review designation in February 2015, with official approval expected in August.  In studies, this drug was found to reduce risk of cardiovascular death by 20% and HF related hospitalization by 21% when compared to standard treatment. While this treatment option is projected to be more expensive than current standard care, sales are expected to be in the billions by 2019.

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Innovations Spotlight

Education Events

Learn about upcoming education events.

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Spin-Offs

Innovations has facilitated several Cleveland Clinic Spin-Offs over the last decade. Click here to see our current portfolio.

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