Innovation and creativity: Pillars of modern medicine

· This April 21 marks the World Day of Creativity and Innovation, a date that aims to promote creative thinking in different disciplines in order to achieve results that change people’s lives, as is the case of life expectancy in Chile , where according to INE figures, between 1900 and 2020, this has tripled, going from 23.5 to 79.7 years.

· There are many pathologies for which treatment has been found thanks to advances in science and technology. In this note we will know the vision of two specialists in the area of ​​oncology and immunology who attest to that.

Over the years, thousands of scientists around the world have devoted a great deal of time and resources to perfecting and innovating techniques that improve the quality of life of people who suffer from some type of disease.

Among so many advances in different treatments, one that stands out is that of psoriasis, a pathology that causes skin irritation, reddened plaques and dry spots, which cause itching. Until a few years ago, this condition was treated conventionally, which caused inflamed areas to remain on the patient’s skin, since a specific target was not attacked, but rather the symptom of the affected area in general.

With the aim of offering a less invasive option to people who suffer from this pathology, and after extensive research, a new and revolutionary type of treatment was established: biological. “These treatments innovated by offering efficacy results in relation to clean patients of their skin disease in proportions never seen before. The patients began to be free of injuries, which managed to improve their quality of life. These values ​​were previously not achieved with conventional treatments such as methotrexate or phototherapy, among others”indicated Dr. Claudia de la Cruz, dermatologist, Secretary of the International Psoriasis Council, director of the Dermacross Clinic and manager of the Treating Psoriasis campaign.

“Biological treatments come to mark the history of psoriasis, because they are treatments that are going to affect the alteration that exists in psoriasis patients in a very specific way, and not a broad chain of inflammation as is caused by conventional treatments. It is something much safer, more effective and with fewer adverse effects, because it targets a specific target”, added the specialist.

Currently, in Chile, the challenge we face regarding the use of biological treatments is in access. This is why Dr. de la Cruz was emphatic in pointing out that in the country “we need the will to improve the quality of our data to be able to go to the payers, that is, the Government, to convince them that psoriasis is a disease that must be treated. . It is the only way for biological therapies to reach all the patients who require them.”

As in psoriasis, innovation and creativity have played a crucial role in the development of treatments in hematology and oncology. This was stated by Dr. Javier Zelada, Head of the Transfusion Medicine Unit of the Universidad de los Andes Clinic and specialist in hematology.

“Hematology as we knew it has changed. There was a paradigm shift in the case of chronic lymphatic leukemia. We never thought that we would be focused on measuring minimal residual disease in indolent lymphomas, or guiding the use of drugs according to genetic mutations. It is without a doubt a revolution that we have the privilege and the duty to follow, in order to give the best results to our society and to our patients”, indicated the expert in the field.

Another area highlighted by Dr. Zelada that has made great progress in recent years is personalized medicine, since he specified that “it is undoubtedly one of the great revolutions of our time, allowing the differentiation of particular characteristics of a pathology that previously only it had a homogeneous clinical presentation, managing to define different risks in patients and thus focus therapeutic efforts”.

“We have witnessed how science applied to the service of medicine has been taking previously unthinkable steps for several years, thanks to innovation in basic sciences as well as in biomedical sciences. On the other hand, creativity has made it possible to make more effective use of health resources, both in solving problems in clinical practice and in the development of teaching and the transmission of new medical knowledge”, concluded the specialist.

For her part, Dr. de la Cruz complemented what her peer said, pointing out that “throughout all the years, medicine has shown us the importance of creativity and innovation. They are those scientists and doctors, great observers and great creatives, who have been able to achieve great advances in science. For example, there is penicillin, which was originally a fungus. Someone saw the potential there and today we see what it became, something that changed the history of humanity, changed the lives of patients dramatically. From there we see the real importance of the relevance of creativity and innovation within medicine”.