The future of medicine
The future of medicine: New weapons against cancer
Instead of scalpels and chemotherapy, doctors are increasingly resorting to high-tech solutions in the fight against cancer: Nano-capsules and proton radiation are among the most promising new patented technologies benefitting patients worldwide. The roster of groundbreaking inventions also includes numerous finalists and winners of the European Inventor Award.
The future of healthcare will probably be personal, with therapeutics tailored to a patient's individual genomic profile. Here's a look at the game-changing achievements that paved the way for personalised medicine.
Fighting diseases the personal way
The end of "one size fits all" medicine? From cheap, rapid DNA tests to growing new tissue from a patient's own stem cells, personalised prevention and treatment based on individual genomic data suggest that the key to combating diseases may lie in ourselves.
Patents and nanotechnology
Big things come in small packages: All across medicine, biochemistry and material sciences, minuscule nano-particles are unleashing their tremendous potential. The EPO helps retrieve "nano" inventions from millions of entries in the European Patent Office (EPO) patent database with a new patent classification scheme (called "B82Y-Patents").
- More details: Patent classification scheme "Nanotechnology"
- Nanotechnology and patents brochure
Did you know?
For the past 20 years, medical technologies have been the leading category among patent applications to the EPO.In 2016, the EPO received a total of 12 263 patent applications for medical technologies; 41% from Europe and 38% from the US. Germany is leading the pack in Europe with 11% of all medical technology patent applications, followed by the Netherlands (7%), Switzerland (5%) and France (4%).
- View the 2016 EPO Annual Report
Photo credit: istockphoto.com/Nicolas Loran
Patents for a medical apparatus or for medical methods?
When Josef Bille won the European Inventor of the Year Award in 2012, it was for inventing a device that revolutionised certain kinds of eye surgery. His invention received a patent from the European Patent Office, despite the fact that medical methods that can be directed to surgery, therapy or diagnosis are not patentable at the European Patent Office. In fact they are explicity excluded from patentability under Article 53 of the European Patent Convention.