4 Advancing Areas in Healthcare for 2018

I recently attended the annual Southeastern Medical Device Association (SEMDA) conference. It brings together the industry’s best and brightest with the common goal of making the southeast a world-class region for medical technology, device, and diagnostic companies. The conference highlighted many late-stage startup companies through exciting pitch rounds and also recognized growing trends and advances in the industry.

The conference got me thinking – “what are the top areas of growth in healthcare to keep an eye on as we head into the second half of 2018?”


From attending the conference, networking, and reading industry insights, I’ve compiled a list of my top 4 industry advances/trends to follow:


  1. Liquid Biopsy
  • This simple, non-invasive alternative to surgical biopsies enable doctors to discover a range of information about a tumor through a simple blood sample.
  • Traces of the cancer’s DNA in the blood can give clues about which treatments are most likely to work for that patient.


  1. Immunotherapy
  • Immunotherapy is a treatment that uses the patient’s own immune system to destroy cancer cells.
  • The goal is to strengthen the power of a patient’s immune system to attack tumors.  
  • A rapidly emerging immunotherapy approach is called Adoptive Cell Transfer (ACT) – collecting and using patients’ own immune cells to treat their cancer. There are several types of ACT (see “ACT: TILs, TCRs, and CARs”), but, thus far, the one that has advanced the furthest in clinical development is called CAR-T cell therapy.
    • CAR-T cells are engineered receptors that combine a new specificity with an immune cell to target cancer cells. There is great potential for this approach to improve patient-specific cancer therapy in a major way!


  1. Non-Invasive & Remote Patient Monitoring Systems
  • This growing trend utilizes digital technologies to collect medical and other forms of health data from individuals in one location and electronically transmit that information securely to health care providers in a different location for assessment and recommendations.
  • Many improvements have been made in patient monitoring to make this completely non-invasive for the patient.
  • Monitoring devices can collect a wide range of health data from the point of care, such as vital signs, weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and electrocardiograms.
  • RPM can also serve to reduce the number of hospitalizations, readmissions, and lengths of stay in hospitals—all of which help improve quality of life and contain costs.


  1. 3D Printing
  • Medical applications for 3D printing are expanding rapidly and are expected to revolutionize healthcare
  • Variety of uses, especially in the dental and device spaces: tissue and organ fabrication; creation of customized prosthetics, implants, and anatomical models; and pharmaceutical research regarding drug dosage forms, delivery, and discovery
  • Benefits: the customization and personalization of medical products, drugs, and equipment; cost-effectiveness; increased productivity


Those are my top 4, what would you add? Let us know!

Additional Resources:

Liquid Biopsy





Car-T Cells & Immunotherapy





Remote Patient Monitoring



3D Printing