Biology Report Biotechnology and modern medicine


Oct 23, 2013 (3 years and 5 months ago)



Biology Report

Bi潴echn潬潧礠慮d m潤ern medicine


Chung Wing Yin6B (3)

Ng Ka Yin 6B (7)

Yung Siu Ling 6B (11)



P.1 Cover page and contents

.2 Introduction & Preface

Objective of this report


Definition of Bio


Application on modern medicine


Affection to economics and us


Debate on controversial issues


Future Development


Conclusion & Comments



Introduction and preface


The objecti
ve of this report is to find out the relationship between biote
and modern medicine,

possible future development of
and the

to economic
s and us in this modern society, and to discuss about the usage of
biotechnology and modern
medicine on some controversial issues.

First of all, we will focus on the definition of biotechnology. Many of you might
think that biotechnology is just biology. It is difficult to clear out what biotechnology
nd biology are. So, before
going deep i

he use of biotechnology,
what actually
biotechnology is

have to be found out first

Then, that is the introduction

some applications on modern medicine

society nowadays
. How can biotechnology help in modern medicine? How can it
applied in



Knowing more application and principle of
biotechnology can help to
find out the relationship between biotechnology and
modern medicine.

Biotechnology apparently is the most successful and important technology than


ever. Many things
for example, GM food and tissue implantation
products of

ter all
how the biotechnology affects o
ur lives and even
the economics?

And hence, find out the economical, biological and medical
importance of biotechnolog

However, there
good and bad side in

every thing. In the debate on
controversial issue

this kind
technology, should it exist?

There are both benefits and
risks associated this, especially GM and cloning. Would it be a disaster for human, or
just simply bringing more
convenience to us?

After going through the
advantages and disadvantages
, should biotechnology
keep going on?

In the section of “Future development”, what

can be the future

of biotechnology?

This report is going to f
the answers to all the quest
ions above.

Definition of Biotechnology:

What is biotechnology?


is technology based on biology, especially when used in agriculture,
food science, and medicine. It is the use of living things to create useful tools and

cultures also understood the importance of using natural processes to
breakdown waste products into inert forms. From very early nomadic tribes to
urban civilizations it was common knowledge that given enough time organic
waste products would be absorb
ed and eventually integrated into the soil. It was not
until the advent of modern microbiology and chemistry that this process was fully
understood and attributed to bacteria.

Through early biotechnology farmers were able to select the best suited and
yield crops to produce enough food to support a growing population. Other uses
of biotechnology were required as crops and fields became increasingly large and
difficult to maintain. Specific organisms and organism byproducts were used to
fertilize, rest
ore nitrogen, and control pests. In modern times some plants are


genetically modified to produce specific nutritional values or to be economical.

The process of Ethanol fermentation was also one of the first forms of
biotechnology. In this process the car
bohydrates in the grains were broken down into
alcohols such as ethanol. Later other cultures produced the process of Lactic acid
fermentation which allowed the fermentation and preservation of other forms of food.
ation was also used in this


to produce leavened bread. Although the
process of fermentation was not fully understood until Louis Pasteur’s work in 1857,
it is still the first use of biotechnology to convert a food source into another form.

Combinations of plants and other organisms

were used as medications in many
early civilizations. Since as early as 200 BC people began to use disabled or minute
amounts of infectious agents to immunize themselves against infections. These and
similar processes have been refined in modern medicine
and have lead to many
developments such as antibiotics, vaccines, and other methods of fighting sickness.

A more recent field in biotechnology is that of genetic engineering. Genetic
modification has opened up many new fields of biotechnology and allowed t
modification of plants, animals, and even humans on a molecular level.
biotechnology was the result of discovery of the structure of DNA, also called the
building blocks of life. This was dicovered by two scienctists called Watson and Crick
50 yea
rs ago. All living things share th
is DNA structure which is the genetics reciepe
that makes us who we are. Watson and Crick

and many other scientists’

revealed how characteristics, such as the colour of our eyes, our athletic ability, and
some di
seases are passed on from generation to generation. This led to an explosion
of genetic research and the development of many new technologies, including modern


Applications of biotechnology in
modern medicine:

In medi
cine, biotechnology has become
an important part in diagnostics, gene
therapy and in the development and
production of drugs. Here are some

Tissue implantation by cell cultivation and the usage of dead embryo cells:

Tissue engineering deals with

tissue implantation. There are great successes in the
production of artificial skin and other organs, thus there are more treatments when
patients have tissue serious hurt.

Scientists can even take cells from dead embryos and turn these cells into living
and organs now. This technique could be used to create treatments for patients
suffering from different diseases which are difficult or even cannot be cured
nowadays, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Stem cells are capable of turning into differ
ent cells or tissues in bodies. Thus, they
can be used to treat heart disease, diabetes and some other diseases. The technology of
using stem cells from living embryos involve steps of creating embryos, usually when
couples go for in vitro fertilization (I
VF) at fertility clinics, and also the steps of
destroying the living embryo cells to extract stem cells. However, if the couples
refuse to let scientists use the embryos cells, scientists cannot make use of the cells.
Also, the number of these cells is sm
all that it is not enough for research purposes.

However, scientists now can make use of the dead embryos cells, which died
naturally during the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF), and extract stem cells from
them. This technique is a new one to the s
science nowadays, because we
will not need the living embryos stem cells for treatments and for experimental
purposes. If this technique is practical, living embryos will no longer be used in all


experiments and treatments. But the dead embryos c
an replace the living ones and the
dead ones can be fully utilized.

However, some experts wondered and warned that the uses of these dead embryos
cells may lead to more ethical dilemmas. For example, it is difficult for us to decide
when the embryos die.

n the other hand, tissue
engineering helps the orthopaedics markets(
through the supply of cartilage, bone and spinal disc replacements. It is now possible
to regenerate the functions of organs that had previously been regarded as being
unable to be

regenerated such as the inner ear, the optic nerve or damaged spinal cord.


China Daily

Hong Kong Edition


Progress in cancer research and treatments:

There are rese
arches showing that the inactivation of a gene which regulates the
generation of some tumour cell species can inhibit the growth of tumour. After this,
the proliferating cells will very quickly transform themselves into regular cells. For
example, tumour s
uppressor genes (TSGs) are the important “gatekeepers” that
protect the body against the somatic evolution of cancer. TSGs are genes that reduce
the probability that a cell in a multi
cellular organism to be turned into a tumour cell.
Losing the whole pair

of alleles of TSG in a cell means it is a step closer towards
cancer. A mutation or depletion of the TSGs will also increase the chances of forming
a tumour. These findings will help in the development of drugs and treatments that
might in future lead to
the healing of diseased tissue and cancer.

At the time being, treatments of cancer, take liver cancer as example, include
removing the unwanted parts and by transarterial chemoebolization (TACE). TACE is
a procedure in which the blood vessel supply blood t
o a tumour is blocked (embolized)
and chemotherapy is administered directly into the tumour. The tumour cells are then



Success in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease

There are the successes achieved in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Neurologists

in finding that point mutations and amplifications of a gene induce


Parkinson’s disease. These findings will help develop drugs that might help cure and
even prevent the start of Parkinson’s disease. These findings are especially important
to many countri
es with serious ageing problems, like Hong Kong and Japan.


Stop bleeding:

Bleeding in large amount or for long time can be fatal, especially the internal bleeding
of our bodies du
ring the process of operations. But now, a new technique of using a
material for stopping bleeding, including external and internal bleeding, in
fifteen seconds, is introduced.

The material is a self
assembling peptide solution which can be used and t
o form
proteins. When this material is placed or injected to cover the wound, it will react and
form a protective layer. The layer will enclose the wound and stop it from bleeding.
When the wound recovers one day, these non
poisonous, biodegradable layers
will be
degraded into amino acids which can be absorbed by the surrounding cells around the
wound, and can be used as part of the tissue repaired. The material will not damage
the surrounding cells or create an immune response. At the same time, the peptid
solution can be used in wet or uncontrolled situations such as the accident sites or the
sites of battle.

Techniques used to stop bleeding nowadays involve heat, pressure or chemical agents
aimed to promote clotting or to constrict the blood vessels. How
ever, using these
techniques need complicated equipment and dry environments. These may also cause
immune responses that damage cells nearby or cause swelling affecting the supply of
blood to the surrounding cells.

If this method of stopping bleeding is pr
actical, surgery times could be cut by half
ultimately and the need for blood transfusion could be reduced as well since this
peptide solution can even be used to stop bleeding of wounds in the brain, spinal cord
and some artery.





Effects of the use of bio
technology to the economy and us:

Because of these new applications and development of modern bio
technology and
medicine, many diseases which are difficult or even cannot be cured nowadays or in
the past, can have new treatments. Therefore, the average life span of human beings in
the world is increasing. Also, the size of the working force is greater

than before as
the amount of patients drops. Therefore, this can improve the economic structure of a
country or city.

Apart from having new treatments to different diseases, many of these new techniques
like the tissue
engineering can help the orthopaedi
cs markets(
) In other
words, these new bio
technology could have a great commercial importance.

On the other hand, different companies can produce and have researches to make
different kinds of medicine and medical facilities or apparatus. On one s
ide, the
biotechnology can take advanced developments. On the other side, this introduces a
great commercial impact to the economy.

Also, the biotechnology can be developed with the advance in different areas of
science, for example, physics, chemistry, a
nd nanotechnology. Take nanotechnology
as an example, with the combination of bio
technology and nanotechnology, new
materials can be created, thus there is the creation of different medicine and
treatments. We can also make use of these to, not only cure
diseases, but also improve
our health. Hence, there are the improvements in our lifestyle.



As the development of bio technology is on going,

the governments and the scientists
notice that problems and questions slowly appear. Although we (publics) get
advantages from the application of biotechnology, we also get some difficult and
controversial questions from it. Let’s see some of the examples

The Ethical Problems


Even though some people think that cloning is controlling lives and immoral since
long time ago, at 1996, the first clone sheep, Dolly was born in this world. With the
advancing technology on cloning these years, the scientists succe
ssfully made clone
dogs, cats, mice, rabbits etc. Even more, a Korean scientist proclaimed he has cloned
human years ago! Although he was lying, we can see that a lot of scientists are
enthusiastic in cloning technology, maybe especially in the area of hum
an cloning.

Many people, including the scientists and citizens believe that when the cloning
technology is mature and clone man can be perfectly made in laboratory, can give
advantages to human beings. For example, the next generation of homosexual people
could be made by directly cloning them. And here come the ethical problems.

Some people may think that we shouldn’t use clone men for medical use or even
shouldn’t clone them, they believe that making clone men and using them for the
above activity is a ki
nd of dehumanization as every human on the world should gain
equality. For the cloning
reproducing problem, many people may get confusions that
about relationships, like, whether cloned man is the father of the clone man? What
should the clone man call the

cloned man’s mother? The clone man and the cloned
man get the same fingerprint, how can the police arrest the robber if one of them done
it? People say that ‘Cloning is breaking the law of nature, showing disrespectful to
lives and how easy to give lives
and take lives away. Obviously, it is despising and
laughing at the nature and God.’ Do you agree?

The Ecology Problems

Another controversial issue I would like to talk is about the ecology. Some species in
the wild may get extinction very soon. For exampl
e, the wild salmon fish. The
traditional feeding
salmons died easily when they have parasites on them and under
cold weather. They have low yield and need large investment, so the price is much
higher. But years ago, scientists modified the DNA of the fish
, making it ideally lives
in cold weather and can against most of the parasites. It greatly enhance the survival
and so the yield of this fish. The problem is, when one of these modified
salmon escaped from the fish farm, it reproduces with the one

at the wild. Its
offspring, which carry the modified gene, adapt better than other salmons as they can
stand the cold weather and relatively better to due with the parasite problem. They
will slowly replace the salmons without that modified DNA and finall
y the original
species in the wild extinct as it is not strong enough to compete with the one carries
the modified DNA.

The Decoding Of Human Genes

Are you against the decoding of human genes or, promote it? People who against it
believes that it threatens

the privacy and bring along with genetic discrimination in
insurance and employment. While those who promote it believe that it helps to know


the principle of operation of human body, therefore revolutionize the detection,
prevention and treatment of diff
erent diseases.

Of course, no one knows how the decoding of human genes will change the way we
are living and the value of lives in future. Sometimes, you may be benefited from it,
for examples, place a few drop of genes of yours on the bio
chip, and your
doctor can
know which drug respond the best to you so you get recover better and earlier. Also,
your doctor can analyse whether you carry the genes for genetic disorders and predict
your health in the future. But we are also likely to get harm from it, for

examples, the
employers may want to look at your genetic profile to see whether they like the cut of
your DNA before deciding to offer you the job or not. The insurance company may
use your genetic profile also, to evaluate whether should accept your heal
th insurance
or increase the fee you have to pay. These cases show that genetic discrimination may

Because of the enriched knowledge of human genetic code, human race may be
engineered one day, genes will be manipulated, and parents can decide t
characters and personalities of their children. So, are those children ‘synthetic’? As it
is easy to change ourselves and our children, will those with imperfections be
abandoned by the society? Or be chosen not to be born instead? Actually, some
e genes cause resistance to other diseases, for example, people who carry the
gene of sickle cell anaemia are resistance to malaria. Are human clever enough to
know if the gene is good or bad to themselves?

Clinton, the ex
president of the Americans, said
that the human genome should be
freely available to all researchers, but there are still companies apply for the patent
parts of the genetic code because the raw DNA sequence cannot be patented but the
gene fragments and the individual genes can. The compa
nies want to earn large
money from receiving royalties when the users use their patented genes to do any
research, treatment or to develop drugs. There are strong disagreements over whether
the companies can patent the genes. The companies say they can’t b
ear that they have
invested a lot in the research and gets nothing in return. But people argue that no
genes should be allowed to patent as it will deter other researches and add
unnecessary costs to lifesaving treatments. Some people agree that the royalt
y is ‘fair’,
but this ‘fairness’ may make the lifesaving treatments expensive and unaffordable to
many patients.



In the future, man
made blood and organs may greatly replace the traditional
human blood and organs donations because
some scientists who do research on the
made tissues care that some patients may have religions that not allowing them
to accept blood and organs donations. Also, it decrease the rejection caused between
the patient’s body tissue and the transplanted ti
ssue, and it lowers the number of
patients infecting infectious diseases through organs transplantation and blood
transfusion, too. Moreover, man
made blood and organs can help to save more lives
as the blood and organs donations are always not enough for
all patients who need to
have transplantation at many places, leading so many patients cannot receive proper
treatments, and died.

As mentioned before in ‘The debates on controversial issues’, feeding
fish like
salmon with modified gene may escaped from t
he fish farm to the wild and slowly
replace the wild species as they can adapt better in the same wild environment. To
solve this problem, the scientists can do some study on making the feeding
infertile with the wild salmon species, so the number o
f survival of the wild species is
less affected when the feeding
salmon is escaped to the wild. But if a lot of modified
salmons escaped, they will reproduce and compete with wild species. This is
also a problem that the scientists need to study.

Biotechnology can be applied more widely to improve the polluted and damaged
environment: For example, some enzymes and microorganisms (bacteria) can be used
to digest the dispersed crude oil on the sea surface when there is crude oil leak out
from the oil

tanker. Maybe it is applicable on algal bloom too! In order to make the
sea water clean and clear, the governments or the environmental protection
departments can buy some filter
feeding animals like, oyster, clams etc. and set them
down at the bottom of
the sea, so they can filter the sea water by trapping the
suspending organic matters, heavy metals, microorganisms etc. as food so the water
quality can be improved.

Application of stem cells in repairing damaged internal organs is also a great future
lopment. A past research shows that the stem cells repair the damaged heart tissue
by develop into cardiac muscle cells in patients with cardiac disease within 5 hours.
There is another theory states that stem cells contain growing elements which may be
le to stimulate the heart to grow out new blood vessels. Although many people do
not totally agree with the theories, stem cells technology is still the hope of medical
field. Maybe a few years later, we can use our own stem cells to treat other failures


ike dental problem!

In the future, scientists can track the migration of human several thousand years
ago and can explain every phenomenon of human body according to the decoding of
human genes. The decoding of human genes inspires the scientists to devel
op new
drugs aimed at the cause of disease rather than the symptoms, the potential diseases
may be cured before they arise and many diseases can be diagnosed easily at early

For example, haemochromatosis, a genetic illness that usually under diagn
osed. The
lethally high level of iron accumulated in blood, tissues and organs causing the patient
has organ failure, unrelenting muscle fatigue and ached joints. Around 10 years ago,
the gene for the disease is isolated, and the diagnosing method was chan
ged. A blood
test was
adopted instead of the
traditional one
which required a liver
Without this test, many
patients would
be under diagnosed and
died because
of that. Maybe a few
years later,
screening tests will
enough and enable
anyone t
o find
out their own health risks,
and their
degree of tolerance to
drugs and
vaccines as each person
differently from the others,
some can tolerate the dose while some cannot. If the dose they can take can be
assured before treatment, the doctors
can avoid giving the wrong dose to their patients
and poisoning t hem.

sion and comment:

In this report, we have come across many things about biotechnology. And now,
we know and understand much more about biotechnology.



is technology based on biology, especially when used in
agriculture, food science, and
medicine. It is the use of living things to create useful
tools and products.

Biotechnology is every where. We can see it applies in different fields, for
example, argriculture , industry and medical which are all closely related to our lives.

In this re
port, we only focus on the applications in the medical field

for example,
stopping bleeding and treatment of many disease, including heart diseases and liver

It affects every area of our lives: our food, water , medicine
and shelter.

It is not

only for treatment of diseases , but also become part of beauty industry.

introduces a great commercial impact of the economy.

However, some of the new areas, including GM and cloning, are controversial.
The use of GM in food production and the use

of cloning in ‘Designer’ people
production arises our awareness. As with any new technology, there are both benefits
and risks.
There has been little innovation in the traditional pharmaceutical industry
over the past decade and biopharmaceuticals are now

achieving the fastest

rates of
growth against this background, particularly in breast cancer treatment.
Biopharmaceuticals typically treat sub
sets of the total population with a disease
whereas traditional drugs are developed to treat the population as a whole. However,
one o
f the great difficulties with traditional drugs are the toxic side effects the
incidence of which can be unpredictable in individual patients.

hile biotechnology offers many possibilities, it should not be considered
independently of other tools, it shou
ld be a combination of different techniques that
will provide solution.












China Daily


South China Morning Post




The End