Biotechnology and medicine


Biotechnology is the most widely used area of genetics. It is one of the revolutionary science today. Based on the principles of biotechnology, biotechnology can be Red biotechnology, Green biotechnology, White biotechnology and Blue biotechnology. Let us discuss the Medical biotechnology in detail.


Table of content

1. Introduction

2. Medical Biotechnology

3. Genetically Engineered Insulin

4. Gene Therapy

5. Molecular Diagnosis

     5.1 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)

    5.2 Insitu Hybridisation


Medical Biotechnology

Health care has been blessed by various biotechnological inventions from time to time. There are a number of drugs, therapies mainly works on the biotechnological principles. The recombinant DNA technological processes are one of the major breakthroughs since 3 decades resulting in the synthesis of many products like insulin, tissue culture and many more. Modern biotechnology has evolved itself through various applications in the field of medicine. Some of the areas where biotechnology is in use are genomics, pharmaceuticals, DNA sequencing, test-tube babies, tissue culture, interference RNA, and genome editing. In addition to these, many antibiotics that are prepared based on the principles of biotechnology are intensively under practice.  Let us discuss some of the most common Medical innovations that work on the basis of biotechnology.


Genetically Engineered Insulin

Insulin is a hormone naturally secreted by the pancreas. Insulin is very important for glucose metabolism which in turn keeps the blood sugars at a healthy levels. Sadly, pancreases are vulnerable for infections resulting in the irreversible damage. Pancreatic damage can cease the production of insulin thereby inducing a serious metabolic illness-diabetes. But biotechnology has made possible to prepare the genetically engineered insulin through artificial means. Insulin in its natural form is a hormone, however, it is used as a drug to manage adult-onset diabetes.  By using many extractive techniques, insulin can be extracted from animals and genetically altered to make it flexible enough to inject to the human body. Although some allergic reactions are evident in the beginning but they are manageable. Structurally, insulin consists of two short polypeptide chains namely, alpha chain (A) and beta-chain (B) and an extra stretch called C. The 2 chains (A and B) are interlinked by disulphide bridges. Insulin is a prohormone (pro-insulin) that require some processing before it is turning out to be mature and completely functional material. The extra stretch or chain-C peptide is manually removed hence there is only A and B chains. For the first time in the year 1983, an American company prepared A and B chains of insulin and injected them into the plasmids of E. coli. It was successfully carried out to produce complete insulin chains. After the chains have been produced, disulphide bonds have been introduced externally so that complete injectable insulin was ready at this stage. The human insulin gene has been introduced into the plasmid of a vector cell (bacterial DNA). In the next phase, the plasmid loops have been cut along with DNA of insulin to form sticky ends that ultimately form a recombinant DNA containing both the bacterial and human insulin. The recombinant genome will be subjected to fermentation or a kind of processing. The processed insulin will be artificially harvested in a medium to multiply them to result in more and more number of ampules of insulin.


Gene Therapy

Gene therapy is the process of either replacing a defective gene or altering its underlying genetic composition to express correctly. Genetic disorders are the result of manipulation of the genome through induced mutation. For more information on genetic therapy click here For more information on the genetic therapy, click here


Molecular Diagnosis

Molecular diagnostics is the use of genetics to detect and manage some illnesses. It is a collection of techniques used to analyze biological markers in the genome and proteome. Molecular diagnostics help in analyzing the specifics of the patient during the state of illness such as infectious diseases, tumours, disorders of coagulation, and pharmacogenomics. Some of the diagnostic techniques used in the molecular diagnostics are explained below.


i) Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)

The use of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) in infectious disease diagnosis, has resulted in an ability to diagnose early and treat appropriately diseases due to fastidious pathogens, determine the antimicrobial susceptibility of slow-growing organisms, and ascertain the quantum of infection. The underlying technology in the PCR involves amplification of pathogen`s nucleic acid that helps us to find out the type and nature of pathology during its incubation period itself. This will help the Doctors to treat the disease at an early stage. For example, the detection of cancer cells, infections such as  HIV. ELISA is one such invention that works on the basis of molecular genetics ELISA ( enzyme-linked Immunosorbent assay ) uses the basic principles of antigen-antibody reactions.


iii) In Situ Hybridisation

This technique involves tagging a single-stranded DNA or RNA with a radioactive molecule (probe). This then hybridizes with its complementary DNA in a clone of cells. On detection using autoradiography, the clone with the mutated gene will not appear on the photographic film because the probe is not complementary to the mutated gene.





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