The Power of Advancement

Next time you’re tempted to reach for that bottle of aspirin in the medicine cabinet, consider this. A new remote controlled, electronic stimulating device implanted into your gums may very well cure your next headache and put you in charge of your pain management. It’s no longer the stuff of science fiction. In a matter of mere years, these types of advances will be the new normal.

Innovation in the medical community has the power to change how we live, not only by solving health problems we currently face, but also by increasing our longevity through new trials and technology.

 

Medical Advancements Lead to Economic Growth

While medical innovation has helped reduce the toll of disease, it has also created jobs and led to economic growth. From the various academic research laboratories conjuring up the next big breakthrough to the skilled tradesman working to build new hospitals and medical facilities, the medical sector has consistently added jobs in recent decades when other industries have fluctuated. Hospitals are also often among the largest employers in any community, which holds true in Brevard, with Health First, Parrish Medical Center and Wuesthoff Health System, ranking as some of the largest in terms of number of local employees.

 

U.S Leading the Charge

The United States is undoubtedly the leading force of innovation in this industry. Experts point out that U.S. inventors have won more medical-related Nobel prizes than any other country, our national medical labs tie more research dollars to these efforts than any other country, and more innovations currently in use across the world have originated from the U.S than from any other country.

 

Making the Local Connection

Like most areas of our economy, Space Coast companies can be directly tied to the innovative work and products coming out of this rapidly advancing sector.

Sun Nuclear Corporation, a worldwide leader in radiation oncology products headquartered in Melbourne, has developed radon gas monitoring instruments, medical instrumentation for radiation measurements and products for radiation oncology. The company’s products are currently in use at over 90 percent of radiation oncology centers across the United States.

Melbourne-based Airon Corporation’s award winning pNeuton mini, a product designed specifically for neonatal/infant/pediatric life support in ground and air transport, hospitals, and during MRI’s, was recently named one of the Top 20 innovative products of the year by a well-respected medical magazine and was noted as having the power to “change the way we deliver pre-hospital care.”

GeNO, LLC is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the design, development and commercialization of next-generation products to address unmet medical needs of patients with a variety of pulmonary and cardiac diseases. The Cocoa-based company is currently developing inhaled nitric oxide (NO) products for use in both the hospital setting and for longer-term applications outside of the hospital setting.

 

Medical Innovation Hotspots

It’s not just individual companies making a mark in the medical sector. A number of innovation hotspots exist in the community where students, faculty and trained professionals work to ensure the U.S. remains first in the world for medical advances.

Students enrolled in Florida Institute of Technology’s biochemistry program study the diagnosis and treatment of disease, explore the mysteries of DNA and aid in the development of innovative biotechnologies. Eastern Florida State College students in pursuit of a degree in Medical Laboratory Technology are learning to diagnose medical conditions in state-of-the-art classrooms and through Human Patient Simulation technology with clinical experience in both hospital and community settings.

Programs like Made in Brevard and AccelerateBrevard.com are helping to make the connection between some of our community’s best-kept secrets, innovators and community resources, that when combined, are spurring collaboration.

Technological innovations are all around us. The next new social media network grows, the next Smartphone is unveiled, and the next big app is introduced that allows us to be more productive. But none of these has the power to potentially heal, the power to make us live longer, or the power to save a life. Arguably none more important, these are the challenges medical innovators face in the coming years. The Space Coast’s forward-thinking leaders and companies are doing their part to ensure these challenges become realities.

 

Lynda Weatherman is president and CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast.