The Value and Importance of Biotechnology to Medicine

The value and importance of biotechnology to medicine.

Image by Ryan Somma via Flickr

In addition to wide application in agriculture, on the basis of genetic engineering, a whole branch of the pharmaceutical industry, called the “industry of DNA and represent one of the branches of modern biotechnology. More than a quarter of all drugs used in the world today contain ingredients from plants. Genetically modified plants are a cheap and safe source for fully functional pharmaceutical proteins (antibodies, vaccines, enzymes, etc.) for both man and animals. Examples of applications of genetic engineering in medicine are also production of human insulin using genetically modified bacteria, the production of erythropoietin (a hormone that stimulates red blood cell formation in bone marrow. The physiological role of this hormone is the regulation of production of red blood cells, depending on the body’s need for oxygen) in cell culture (i.e. outside the body) or a new breed of experimental mice for scientific research. 

Genetic engineering methods

The development of genetic engineering methods, based on the creation of recombinant DNA, led to the “biotech boom,” that we are witnessing. Thanks to advances in this field was made possible not only to create “biological reactors, transgenic animals, genetically modified plants, but also carrying out genetic certification (complete investigation and analysis of human genotype, held, usually shortly after birth, to determine predisposition to various diseases, the possibility of inadequate (allergic) reaction to certain medications, and propensity for certain activities). Genetic certification allows to predict and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, to investigate and prevent neurodegenerative diseases and aging processes, to analyze the nerve-physiological characteristics of the individual at the molecular level), diagnosis of genetic diseases, the creation of DNA vaccines, gene therapy of various diseases, etc. . 

In the XX century in most countries, the main efforts of medicine were sent to fight infectious diseases, reducing infant mortality and increasing life expectancy. Countries with more advanced health care systems so succeeded in this way that found it possible to shift the focus on chronic diseases, diseases of the cardiovascular system and cancer, as these groups of diseases were given the highest percentage increase in mortality. 

Searching for new methods and approaches

At the same time came the search for new methods and approaches. Significant was the fact that science had proved the significant role of hereditary predisposition in the occurrence of such widespread diseases such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, peptic ulcer and duodenal ulcers, psoriasis, asthma, etc. It became apparent that for effective treatment and prevention of these diseases encountered in the practice of physicians of all specialties, it is necessary to know the mechanisms of interaction environmental and hereditary factors in their origin and development and, consequently, further progress in health care is impossible without the development of biotechnology techniques in medicine. In recent years, these areas are considered priority and booming. 

The relevance of accurate genetic studies based on biotechnological approaches, and more obvious, because to date has been known for more than 4000 hereditary diseases. About 5-5, 5% of children are born with hereditary or congenital diseases. At least 30% of infant mortality during pregnancy and the postpartum period due to congenital and hereditary diseases. After 20-30 years, begin to manifest many of the diseases to which the person was just a genetic predisposition. This occurs under the influence of various environmental factors: living conditions, bad habits, and complications after diseases, etc. 

Currently, there are already practical opportunities to significantly reduce or correct the negative impact of hereditary factors. Medical genetics explained that the cause of many gene mutations is the interaction with adverse environmental conditions, and therefore, solving environmental problems can be done to reduce the incidence of cancer, allergy, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, mental illness, and even some infectious diseases. However, scientists were able to identify the genes responsible for display of various pathologies and contribute to an increase in life expectancy. When using the methods of medical genetics good results in treating 15% of the diseases for almost 50% of diseases seen significant improvement. 

Thus, the significant achievements of genetics not only allowed to enter the molecular level study of the genetic structures of the body, but also to reveal the essence of many serious human diseases come close to gene therapy. 

In addition, based on medical and genetic knowledge has created conditions for the early diagnosis of hereditary diseases and timely prevention of hereditary diseases. 

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