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Medical science: Spain's latest 'Eureka' moments
29 September 2019 @ 20:29

AS WELL as being world-famous for possessing one of the top public health services on earth and perpetual number one globally for transplant operations per inhabitant, Spain is also home to – and the birthplace of – some of the best international medical scientists and is frequently behind ground-breaking discoveries. Pioneering new treatment and diagnostic tests have been developed in Spain, although of course, the process of taking these from laboratory to mainstream hospital takes years, as once a breakthrough is found, drugs need to be developed that the human body can tolerate at a time when it is most weakened, then clinical trials have to be carried out and their results monitored over time, before a manufacturer takes them on, authorisation given from international health departments, and a price negotiated that allows them to be widely used.

But in most of our lifetimes we have, and will, see great things coming out of the planet's science communities, especially those in Spain – after all, anyone who was at least primary school age in the late 1980s will have remembered the doom-filled campaigns about HIV and AIDS, then a progressive disease for which diagnosis meant a death sentence. Now – and, in fact, for nearly 20 years – HIV does not have to develop into AIDS, patients can lead a normal life expectancy and quality by taking as little as one pill a day, and their medication even prevents them passing on the condition through sexual contact or blood.

And nowadays, most types of cancer detected early enough are considered completely curable, nearly 90% of childhood cancers have complete cures, and some can even be prevented by zapping cells years before they develop into tumours. One of the biggest challenges for many cancer strains is finding ways to diagnose them in time, since several are asymptomatic until it is too late.



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