Future of Biotechnology in Healthcare

Biotechnology offers more and better healthcare options, novel diagnostics and therapies for prevention and treatment of diseases. Although at an initial stage, it is ushering in an era of innovative medicines, diagnostics and technologies in development that hold great promise to better patients’ lives.

Personalized Medicine:

This is a concept of treatment with therapy and medicine based on each patients unique genetics make up for obtaining optimal results. Current medical practice is based on the average response across large group of people. Personalized Medicine is a new phenomenon whereby an individual patients characteristics like age, gender, height, weight, diet and genetics environment are under consideration. This has led to the development of genomic personalized medicine which translates to medical care based on a patient’s genotype or gene expression profile.

Pharmacogenomics:

This process in healthcare takes into account the individuals unique genomes which represent their genetic make-up. These genomes are likely to react differently to a specific drug and dose quantity. The task is to differentiate the drug and dose in individuals or groups who possess similar genetics. This process aids the physician in selecting and prescribing specific drugs, with dose levels that enable to combat a particular disease.

Rapid advances in DNA technology is the basis for both pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine. It helps in the determination of an individual’s unique genetic make-up, and its difference with others. Variations in genomes as well as encoded proteins among individuals, have helped researchers to develop medicines specific to each patient. Pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine have made rapid strides in the sphere of clinical trials in drugs, screening technology resulting in enhanced healthcare and significant advances in preventive medicine.

Genetic Testing:

The discovery OF SINGLE NUCLEOTIDE POLYMORPHISM (SNPS) which is a single nucleotide change in the DNA sequence has revolutionized genetic testing. One of the common forms of genetic variation in individuals is called SNPs or “Snips”. When a SNP occurs in a gene sequence that encodes a specific protein, it can alter that protein causing disease or susceptibility to a disease. Using technology to detect SNPs helps to accurately diagnose genetic diseases and facilitates that treatment process. Genetic testing present a clear overview of risks associated with a disease and its possible prevention. More than 10 million SNPS have been identified in the human genome.

Gene Therapy:

This is a new area of applied genetics that uses recombinant DNA technology. Gene therapy involves inserting genes created by recombinant DNA technology into the cells and tissues of patients to treat the diseases. A study of inherited human disease involving defective genes are now being done, in order to replace them with functional genes. Gene therapy has expanded significantly since its inception in 1990. There is an everyday increase in clinical trials that focus on patients with threatening diseases, which have fewer remedial options.

Stem Cells:

There are non-specialized cells that renew constantly to produce more stem cells. They can mature, develop special function or change under specific growth conditions. Stem cells ultimately form all of the different types of cells that constitute the body. Stem cell research focuses on the potential of an undifferentiated stem cell, to produce a variety of other cells.

This therapy is at an experimental stage and it involves a laboratory process by which stem cells are grown, and guided to a cell type by adding specific growth factors. These different cells are surgically implanted so that it can integrate into the diseased tissue, replace cells and reverse the effects of the disease.

Another process could be the implantation of undifferentiated stem cells and guide them to the differentiated cells in a patient’s body. The objective is to replace damaged cells with healthy cells, and therefore it is called REGENERATIVE MEDICINE. The optimistic view is that this process can be a renewable source of replacing cells and tissues to treat various diseases.

Nanotechnology:

NANOMEDICINE is the application of NANOTECHNOLOGY for improvement of human health. Basically it is the manipulation of molecules and structures on a nanometer (one billion of a meter) or atomic scale.

Biotechnology nanomedicine harnesses living organism on a very limited scale. Nanoshells selectivity target and destroy cancer cells at the cellular level. These shells are nanoscopic metallic lenses that act on specific organs, tissues, through the bloodstream. They have the capacity to capture infrared light, convert the same to heat, killing only the desired cancer cells.

Nanoparticles possess the shape of constructed carbon molecules, having the potential for drug delivery to target molecules or cells. They are also referred to as buckyballs, and helps to deliver drugs that do not dissolve in water. Because they are small in size, they have the potential to deliver most of the drug per volume. Scientific research on nanoparticles are being carried out to assess their capability to unclog blocked articles.

New Drug Delivery System:

Biomedical research is discovering new ways of drug delivery and its impact. One new development is that of microscopic particles called microsphere. They help to carry small quantities of drugs to their target through tiny holes that they possess. Structurally they resemble naturally occurring fats in cell membranes and spray mist into nose or mouth. Microsphere therapies are now being used for lung cancer and respiratory diseases. Constant research is being undertaken to utilize microspheres to deliver anticancer drugs to active tumors and for pain management.

Future Roadmap

Revolutionary advances in Biotechnology research and innovation has benefitted millions of patients in the World. The cycle of discovering, developing and delivering novel medications to combat severe disease conditions are an ongoing process. Companies continue to pursue their efforts to address significant unmet needs. The future will surely unfold the fruits of biotechnology research in its quest to unveil newer remedies for combating the threat of disease in the World.