This list of up-and-coming technologies and drug therapies was chosen by a panel of 110 physicians and scientists, and announced at the conference in Cleveland. Here is a continuation of their top picks.

— Checkpoint Inhibitors
This breakthrough form of immunotherapy has allowed physicians to make more progress against advanced cancer than they’ve achieved in decades. Combined with traditional chemotherapy and radiation treatment, the drugs boost the immune system and offer significant, long-term cancer remissions for patients with metastatic melanoma. The medication also shows promise in treating other metastatic cancers, such as kidney cancer.

— Leadless Heart Pacemaker
The size of a vitamin pill, this new pacemaker uses a battery, instead of wires, and is implanted directly into the heart without invasive surgery, thereby reducing the risk of infection. “The first one I implanted took 13 minutes. A traditional pacemaker takes an hour,” said a heart disease specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. The tiny pacemakers are available commercially in Europe but are still in clinical trials here.

— New drugs for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
There is fresh hope for the nearly 80,000 older Americans with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), thanks to the recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of two new experimental drugs. Pirfenidone and nintedanib slow the progress of this lethal lung disease, which causes irreversible scarring of the lung tissues. Until now, there was no known treatment for IPF, which after diagnosis had offered patients a life expectancy of just three to five years.

— Single-dose Intraoperative Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer
For women with early-stage breast cancer, this new technique delivers a single concentrated dose of radiation to the tumor during surgery, preserving more healthy tissue and reducing side effects. Instead of experiencing four to six weeks of radiation therapy, women who qualify for the treatment are done in a day.

— New drug for Heart Failure
Angiotensin receptor–neprilysin inhibitor, or ARNI, has been granted fast track status by the FDA after showing it reduced deaths by 20 percent over ACE inhibitor enalapril, the current gold standard for treating patients with heart failure. The unique two-drug combo represents a major shift in treatment for this condition.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

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