Biotech Marvels: From Gene-Editing to Lab-grown Organs!
Biotechnology utilizes innovative technological breakthroughs in the field of biology to develop novel products, methods, and organisms to improve human health and the progress of society. It often involves the manipulation of genes in organisms to alter behaviour, characteristics and even produce fully developed organs through stem cell therapy. When biology and technology intertwine, we can recode life itself.
A glimpse into future biotech: Artificial wombs to rebuild populations, from https://www.tue.nl/en/storage/biomedische-technologie/de-faculteit/news-and-events/news-overview/07-04-2022-without-gasping-for-air-safely-in-the-artificial-womb?twclid=2-2qun4v755dq8eo34tlkbgibh2&cHash=d3440e6177d2d9e69ea763105a6672d4
Fun fact: Biotechnology has allowed the creation of bioluminescent plants. By transferring genes from organisms like fireflies to plants, they are able to emit glowing light. These modified organisms now offer an innovative and environmentally conscious source of light!
Gene therapy: rewriting life
Gene therapy is a technique that modifies a person's genes to treat or cure a disease. This process allows scientists to modify an organism's DNA by adding, deleting, and altering a specific gene sequence. It works by several mechanisms:
Replacing a disease-causing gene with a healthy copy of it.
Inactivating the disease-causing gene.
Introducing a new gene to help treat the disease.
Doctors in Germany saved a 7-year-old Syrian refugee suffering from a skin disease (junctional epidermolysis bullosa).
80% of his skin was affected, and he faced a life-threatening issue if not corrected.
A patch of healthy skin was carefully collected from the boy, then researchers injected it with the faulty gene (LAMB3) responsible for the condition.
The genetic condition was corrected, and they grew sheets of skin in the lab and attached them to the boy. Today he is completely healthy.
Lab-grown skin, from https://astronlife.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/artificial-human-ear-grown-in-lab/
Fun fact: In 2017, gene therapy restored vision in people that had a rare form of blindness called Leber congenital amaurosis. After surgery, they could successfully see light and shapes. They injected a corrected version of the gene into the retina.
Lab-grown organs: fiction to reality
New organs and tissues can be made from a patient's cells. They are made by stem cell therapy. These are known as organoids. They are used in:
Providing organs for transplants when there aren't enough donors.
Testing new drugs without harming organisms.
Studying diseases to develop better treatments.
Making personalized organs for patients.
Advancing medicine to heal injuries and diseases faster.
Fun fact: Scientists have created a tiny, fully functional human heart in a lab. This offers a groundbreaking milestone in tissue engineering and transplantation solutions.
Future perspectives: A better life
Biotechnology holds the potential to impact global health conditions and pave the way for a better future in various diverse ways, including:
Saving countless lives and addressing organ shortages.
Improving treatment for genetic diseases.
Introducing personalized medicine that offers precision and effectiveness.
Improving cancer treatment.
Reducing healthcare costs.
Preventing the possibility of another pandemic.
Through collaborative efforts, the possibility of more medical breakthroughs increases, promising enhanced well-being and health for people worldwide.