Not Just a Flash in the Pan

Author: 
Shana Leonard

While preparing to write my editor’s column for this special 25th anniversary issue, I dug into our MPMN archives and perused a random sampling of past issues. An editor’s page from the January/February 1998 issue, in particular, caught my eye. The title of the piece, “The Internet: Flash in the Pan or Medium of the Future?” initially elicited an amused, nostalgic grin and a chuckle. However, the piece gave me pause in its final thoughts. Then-editor Ursula Jones concludes the article: “As time goes on, we will find ourselves more and more dependent on the medium. Soon, we’ll wonder how we ever got along without it.”

And that time has certainly come for the Internet. But it struck me how Jones’s closing sentiment also rings true for so many of the technologies upon which we’ve come to rely—not least in the medical field.

During the past quarter-century alone since Medical Product Manufacturing News launched, medtech progress and adoption has been rapid. An estimated one million coronary stents are implanted annually, for example. Yet the first human coronary stent was implanted only in 1986. Furthermore, the bare-metal stent has given way to drug-eluting stents in many cases, and bioresorbable stents are already in development. Likewise, laparoscopic cholecystectomy is now an extremely common procedure, although the first such surgery using video was performed in 1987. Even though these technologies are, for all intents and purposes, still rather new, their prevalence has made previous methods distant memories for many.

So, what will be the next medical technologies causing us to wonder how we ever got along without them?

I can only venture guesses; however, nanotechnology stands out as a prime candidate. If realized, nanotechnology-enabled products could offer unparalleled, targeted treatment for a number of diseases, including cancer. Continuous remote patient monitoring may become a way of life for many patients as well, complete with smartphone-based transmission of data. Controlled drug delivery, bioresorbable implants, advanced biosensing capabilities, and implants with osseointegrative properties are also strong candidates.

Additional hypotheses as to the future of medical technology are presented in our special anniversary section. The past, present, and future of such areas as medical coatings, electronics, biomaterials, antimicrobials, design, and patient-care connectors are examined in the form of retrospectives and roundtable discussions.  Plus, don’t miss our special Web-exclusive feature, “The Top 25 Breakthroughs of the Past 25 Years,” found at qmed.com/mpmn/25years.

On a sentimental note, we at MPMN would like to thank our readers and advertisers for your support over the past 25 years, which established us so that we weren’t just a flash in the pan. And through our print publication, Web site, blog, e-newsletters, Webcasts, and other exciting information channels, we’re looking forward to serving as your medium of the future as well.