Biotechnology harnesses cellular and biochemical systems to advance knowledge of the molecular cause of disease and to provide new diagnostic tools and more precisely targeted drugs. Within a decade, global investment in medical biotechnology has increased more than ten-fold, resulting in therapies for previously untreatable conditions. But what exactly is biotechnology and what are its origins? What further benefits to human health could it offer in the future?Written in an accessible style, contributors to this book explore the history behind different biotechnology tools, how they are used, and how they are reshaping the future of diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines. Among the technologies examined are genetic engineering, DNA sequencing, monoclonal antibodies, stem cells, gene therapy, cancer immunotherapy and the most recent newcomer - synthetic biology. Applying new biotechnologies in medicine is not without great challenges. As medicines shift from small organic molecules to large, complex structures, such as therapeutic proteins, drugs become difficult to make, administer and regulate. This book will intrigue anyone interested in medicine and how we have been, and may continue to, engineer better health for ourselves. Such changes have major implications for how and where drugs are manufactured, the cost of medicine and the ethics of how far society is prepared to go to combat disease.
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