| Stem Cells
Amniotic stem cells are the mixture of stem cells that can be obtained from the amniotic fluid as well as the amniotic membrane. They can develop into various tissue types including skin, cartilage, cardiac tissue, nerves, muscle, and bone. The cells also have potential medical applications, especially in organ regeneration.
The stem cells are usually extracted from the amniotic sac by amniocentesis, without harming the embryo. The use of amniotic fluid stem cells is therefore generally considered to lack the ethical problems associated with the use of cells from embryos.
| Personalized Medicine
Genes play an important role in determining the right drug and dosing for a particular condition. A treatment that works for one individual may not work, or may cause severe side effects, for another individual. Pharmacogenomics is a field of personalized medicine that screens an individual’s DNA to determine the optimal treatment for that individual based on their genetic code.
Often, drug choice and dosage require experimentation in order to find the best treatment option. With pharmacogenomic testing, the need for this experimentation is decreased. As a result, the process becomes faster and more cost-effective, which decreases the possibility of adverse events caused by the wrong drug choice or dosage.
Urine drug testing (UDT) is widely used for testing for opioids and illicit drugs. There are two types of UDT: a screening test and a confirmatory test. The screening test uses an immunoassay to look for the parent drug and/or metabolite. Most UDTs screen for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, PCP, and amphetamines, while some also test for benzodiazepines and methadone. The confirmatory urine drug test is done by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) or high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). This test is highly specific and is typically used when testing for the presence of a specific drug is needed.
HerediTEST evaluates an individual’s genetic risk of developing several primary inherited cancers over their lifetime by examining 94 genes for variants that may increase risk for major cancer types including: Breast, Ovarian, Melanoma, Prostate, Colorectal, Endocrine Neoplasia, Gastric, Bladder, Renal, Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, and Pancreatic. Equipped with personal and family history, a physical and the results of this test, an individual with a higher risk for cancer and their physician may decide on more frequent screening, avoiding risk factors, developing healthy lifestyle habits to decrease additional risk, taking preventative medications, or having risk reducing surgical procedures. Who should be tested? Patients with a personal history of cancer and patients with a family history of cancer (including early onset and multiple types of cancer).
Simply put, transdermal creams are a different way of delivering medication to your body, and they offer significant advantages over taking medications orally. One of the biggest advantages is that the medication is delivered directly to the site of action. This is advantageous in two ways: It allows a much higher concentration of the actual drug to reach the tissue that needs it, and it avoids the body’s “first pass metabolism,” which leads to dangerous systemic side effects in many cases.
Spinal instrumentation utilizes surgical procedures to implant titanium, titanium-alloy, stainless steel, or non-metallic devices into the spine. Instrumentation provides a permanent solution to spinal instability. Medical implants are specially designed and come in many shapes and sizes. Typically these include rods, hooks, braided cable, plates, screws, and interbody cages. Cages are simply structures that support bones (either between bones or in place of them) while new bone growth occurs through and around them.
Spinal fusion is a process using bone graft to cause two opposing bony surfaces to grow together. In medical terminology, this is called arthrodesis. Bone graft can be taken from the patient (termed autologous or allograft bone) during the primary surgical procedure or harvested from other individuals (termed allograft bone). Another option for some patients undergoing lumbar (low back) spine surgery is bone morphogenetic protein (BMP). BMP stimulates new bone to grow.