Biotechnology – the field that is famously known as the ‘Sunrise Industry’ aims at restoring, improving and providing humans with quality & healthy lives. The latest advancements in the field of medicine and biological sciences are instrumental in bringing about the integration of biology and technology, thereby providing better tools for diagnosis and treatment.
Here are five innovations and findings that have the potential of changing the face of medicine in near future, for good.
Innovation # 1 : Decay-fighting microbes
Tooth decay is caused by bacteria living on the teeth, which convert sugar to lactic acid, thereby, eroding the enamel. A Florida based company; ONI BioPharma has engineered a new strain of bacteria, called SMaRT, which cannot produce lactic acid. In addition, it also releases an antibiotic that kills natural decay causing strain. SMaRT, now in the phase of clinical trials, is relatively simple to use as dentists only need to swab it onto the teeth to keep them healthy for a lifetime.
Checking the health of your liver, until now, required a painful biopsy. EchoSens, a French company has developed a machine that scans the organ for damage in a span of just 5 minutes. Since the liver tends to become stiffer as a result of any damage, this scanner called Fibroscan, measures the organ’s elasticity and indicates the health of your liver.
Innovation # 3 : Cancer Spit – Test
It is said that, ‘Cancer that is detected early can be cured’. But the procedures for detection and diagnosis are often painful, which deters patients from taking these tests. Researchers at the University of California have designed a device that can detect oral cancer from a drop of saliva. Proteins associated with cancer cells react with the dyes n the sensor emitting fluorescent light that can be detected by the microscope.
Innovation # 4 : Nerve Regenerator
Nerve fibres can’t grow along injured spinal cords. A nanogel developed by the North-western University elimates this problem. Injected in the form of a fluid, the nanogel self assembles into a scaffold (mesh) of nanofibres. The peptides (proteins) expressed in the fibres signal the stem cells to produce cells that foster nerve development. The scaffold, on the other hand, supports the growth of new axons up and down.
Innovation # 5 : Gastro-intestinal Liner
The pancreas is affected by type II diabetes and gives rise to obesity. A gastrointestinal liner has been developed by Massachusetts-based GI Dynamics which restores healthy weight to an obese individual by preventing food from contacting the intestinal wall. The Endobarrier, a medical device is routed endoscopically through the mouth, requiring no surgical procedures. This device lines the first 2 ft. of the small intestine, where the most calories are absorbed. Even after applying it, nutrients do get absorbed farther down the intestine.
Surely, these innovations indeed bring hope to the field of diagnosis and treatment of the diseases and conditions that were once considered incurable. Long live Biotechnology!!
Reference:http://newscience.com.au/bacteria-to-fight-tooth-decay.php http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/saliva-test-for-early-cancer-detection-20120628-214l2.html http://www.news-medical.net/news/20100712/Scientists-discover-way-to-enhance-nerve-regeneration-in-peripheral-nervous-system.aspx http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/170779.php http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003825.htm
By: Bhavika Sachdeva (PG-Biotech 2012-14)