Most of the latest breakthrough developments in medicine are in genetics and immunology. With the help of genetic engineering and genome change, attempts are made to use the patient’s immune system, which failed and failed to cope with the disease. In other words, by “repairing” the failure of the immune system at the genome level, scientists give the body the opportunity to heal itself. In 2018, for the first time in history, the American state regulator FDA allowed for the use in routine clinical practice CAR-T, a method of genetic reprogramming of the T-cells of the immune system to treat acute leukemia. Under the pressure of incontrovertible clinical research results, the barrier prohibiting modification of the human genome was broken for the first time. This method was also used to treat other diseases. Since then – and only a year has passed – genetic products for the treatment of congenital blindness and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma have already appeared.
Somehow it so happens that, unlike cancer, viral hepatitis is not afraid – and for nothing, because it is no less dangerous and insidious. Hepatitis C is as asymptomatic as cancer, usually found in the late stages and leads to severe health consequences, and often fatal – all as in cancer. People often carry the virus for years or even decades and learn about the disease in the stage of cirrhosis or liver cancer, when it is too late. If we believe the statistics, every 12th reader of this article is either sick or carries the hepatitis virus, although he has no idea about it. According to the same statistics, hepatitis B and C are the main cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer: about 80% of liver cancer cases are caused by them. A couple of years ago, treatment of the disease lasted a year and was associated with a large number of unpleasant side effects, and its effectiveness was low – no more than 40% of patients recovered. In recent years, new antiviral drugs have appeared that directly affect the virus life cycle and destroy it. The course of treatment may include both one drug (monotherapy) and a combination of several drugs. Moreover, the percentage of complete recovery today – from 90 to 100, with virtually no side effects.
HIV infection is one of the most serious modern diseases. About 36 million people have died from it in the last 20 years. Today, the life expectancy and quality of life of HIV-infected patients is almost the same as that of a healthy average person. In other words, a person who takes modern medications properly selected for him can live a full life and give birth to healthy children. The disease, which was acute, progressive, and fatal until recently, has become as controlled chronic disease as diabetes mellitus.
At present, there are about ten different groups of drugs for AIDS treatment. A patient is selected for a so-called “cocktail” consisting of several drugs from different groups, or is given one tablet containing a “set” of necessary drugs. Thus, the disease is transferred to the status of chronic controlled disease with minimal side effects.
Another success in this area is the prevention of AIDS infection for people at “risk” (medical guides define LGBT community members, people who have promiscuous sexual lives, and those who for some reason refuse condom protection). For them, there are medicines – truvada, or his Israeli generic emtrivir – that provide a daily guarantee of 93 to 97% protection from AIDS.