Medical Biotechnology

Research and biotechnological advances in medicine

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Posted By Irma J. McKeehan

The great advances in biomedicine, in molecular and cell biology based on genetics and the development of omic sciences such as genomics, proteomics and metabolomics, together with the advances in regenerative medicine, are changing the way medicine is approached and generating revolutionary expectations in the medium term.

Individualized medicine is based on the design and application of prevention and treatment protocols more adapted to the genetic and molecular uniqueness of each patient and each disease.

The clinical application of cellular therapies is feasible and safe. However, the benefits depend on the cell product, the method of administration and the clinical context. A future is already in sight in which our own tumor cells will be used for the treatment of cancer. The relationships between the immune system, inflammatory processes and cancer are beginning to be understood through regenerative medicine.

We are immersed in the principle of a change of model in healthcare practice, conditioned by predictive and individualized medicine; from a change of pharmaceutical products based on chemistry, with universal molecules for all, to a model based on genomics and proteomics, on cell therapy and on pharmacogenomics and endopharmacy. The new discoveries, more than products, are individualized and multidisciplinary therapeutic processes.

It is difficult for large laboratories to finance regenerative medicine projects using the patient’s own cells, given the difficulty of obtaining allogeneic products from them. This is why these projects are being developed on an academic basis.

The administration needs to develop specific regulations for the development and financing of these academically based clinical research projects, which require a great effort from researchers so that it does not discourage but rather encourages research initiatives in these areas, as well as promoting the provision of adequate infrastructures for their development.

It is important that these advances can be quickly transformed into diagnostic, therapeutic or preventive possibilities available to citizens; into possibilities for improvements and savings in healthcare management and, in short, into improved health management.

The health sector is a very important supplier of R&D and an essential partner in socio-economic development. Scientific research is a tool for improving care and an intellectual self-demand for specialists.

But for the citizen to perceive this importance, we must reflect on what we can do to bring these advances more quickly into clinical practice, how we can lessen this current long journey, in which, while it is happening, people are dying and suffering.

How can we help researchers to develop their initiatives, their ingenuity and their tenacity, how can we make the processes of clinical trials more efficient, speeding up the bureaucracy of research projects, cutting time by achieving the coordination and commitment of the agents involved in carrying them out; in short, how can we bring these advances closer to patients and citizens.

The most important challenge is knowledge management. If we want to have an innovative country, we have to have innovative universities. To do this, he proposed the following conditions: excellence in what to do, moving from discovery to product, so that in order to move from the research center to the technology company and to the big pharmaceutical company, a road map must be drawn up.

Ingenuity and creativity are more easily and efficiently demonstrated in small companies or small groups with great autonomy. The challenge is how we can enable these companies to access the more expensive phases of clinical research.

How we can establish contacts with larger companies with the resources and organization to be able to put these achievements to good use and take advantage of this knowledge, completing their research and making it possible to market it and therefore apply it for the benefit of citizens and patients.

The development of regulations that allow for greater efficiency in clinical trials, especially those with an academic base. We hope that in the not too distant future, these measures will make it possible to increase the number of patents.

But this is not enough. Once clinical progress is achieved and available, it is necessary to manage its rapid implementation by the healthcare organization. How do we train our professionals, how do we implement these new therapies in the most effective and efficient way, how do we incorporate these new therapies into the care processes and protocols.

The opportunities for improvement offered by the advances in new biomedical technologies require managers to carry out cost-benefit analyses in relation to screening of risk populations for diagnostic tests or vaccines that allow the prevention of diseases or their development, calculating the savings they provide and estimating the health benefits, both in terms of their application for the prevention of diseases and their cure and treatment.

Health technologies are exponentially reducing their costs and exponentially increasing their capabilities. One example is the incredible advance of supercomputing and the foreseeable exponential drop in the cost of genetic tests.

Investment in health is the most profitable for a country. A country’s level of health and quality of life is directly related to its economic and social prosperity. A physically and mentally healthy country is necessarily a prosperous and happy one.