Top Five Medical Innovations of the 2000s (And One Big Concern)

12/29/09

1—The development of novel mechanisms and combination therapies in HIV, which have turned a universally fatal disease into a chronic one.

2—Targeted cancer therapies. Novartis’ imatinib (Gleevec) is the poster child for this.

3—Sequencing the human genome, and rapidly expanding the technology to allow the analysis of comparative genomes across species and disease areas (e.g., the cancer genome.)

4—RNA Interference. This is revolutionizing the ability to study the function of individual, and networks of genes, and raising the potential for a whole new class of therapeutics.

5—Stem cells. While still largely a science project, it holds vast potential to impact almost all areas of medicine.

6—Last, but unfortunately not least….the FDA has moved dramatically to a focus on risk as a primary concern, rather than the balance of risk/reward. This has begun to significantly stifle innovation and progress.

[Editor's Note: As the decade comes to an end, we've asked Xconomists and other technology leaders around the country to identify the top innovations they've seen in their fields the past 10 years, or predict the top disruptive technologies that will impact the next decade.]

James Topper is a general partner with Frazier Healthcare Ventures. Follow @

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