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Top medical innovations for 2020

Cleveland Clinic’s annual ranking of medical innovations highlights up-and-coming medical breakthroughs anticipated to impact the future of healthcare.
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Advances in medicine transform lives – and this year will be no different.

According to Cleveland Clinic’s annual ranking of top medical innovations – new heart medicines take three of the top ten spots.

Samir Kapadia, M.D., Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic, said SGLT2 inhibitors, a class of medications used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, are now being explored in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction..

“Many patients who have heart failure have a normal pumping function of the heart but still it has elevated pressure inside the heart so you feel short of breath,” he said. “There are several new medications that will help the heart relax better.”

Medication to treat a rare form of heart failure, called cardiac amyloidosis, makes the list as well.

“This medication, for the first time, will prevent progression of the disease, so people can live longer without heart failure,” said Dr. Kapadia.

Also on the list is an alternative approach to lowering LDL cholesterol while avoiding side effects.

“Bempedoic acid has the same advantages of statins but does not cause muscle-related problems,” Dr. Kapadia said.

Ovarian cancer treatments, called poly-ADP ribose polymerase, or PARP, inhibitors are included as well. They’re designed to help prevent or delay cancer from returning.

And a device that sends electrical signals to the spinal cord to ease chronic back pain also made the cut.

“This adjusts to how often your nerves are firing,” said Michael Roizen, M.D., emeritus chief wellness officer at Cleveland Clinic. “So, it modulates your pain by adjusting to you.”

Another top innovation involves a new way to speed up orthopedic injury healing, called biologics.

As does an antibiotic envelope to prevent pacemaker infections.

The list also highlights a pill being studied for children with severe peanut allergy.

“This is a way of decreasing the severe reactions some kids have,” said Dr. Roizen.

Greater access to a less invasive repair of the heart’s mitral valve takes the number two spot.

And coming in at number one – a new osteoporosis drug designed to reduce the risk of life-altering fractures.

“It increases your osteoblast activity increasing your bone thickness and it blocks osteoclast activity decreasing reabsorption, meaning your bones get thicker two ways,” Dr. Roizen said.

While many of the top innovations are FDA approved, Dr. Roizen said some are only available through clinical trials. 

The list of top medical innovations was presented earlier this year at Cleveland Clinic’s Annual Innovations Summit.

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