The impact of biotechnology on the prevention diagnosis and treatment of disease

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On the other hand, amplified sequences can be inserted into other, more easy-to-manipulate species, such as microorganisms, thereby leading to the assessment of characteristics possessed by the resulting gene products of these sequences, such as structure, pH and function. In medicine, such findings are important because diseases that previously remain to be an enigma has been found to be caused by a depletion or over-expression of proteins whose functions have only recently been identified. So far, there are multiple procedures that have been developed, each catering to the specific needs of various research groups. This is a testament to the ever-growing field of biotechnology. This paper summarizes the different functions of various biotechnological procedures that are applicable to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. PREVENTION THROUGH VACCINES Vaccines are one of the most common and effective means of providing protection against infectious diseases. Because of its extensive use, continuous vaccine development is going underway since its initial use. One of the targets of advancement is the means of production. Basically, vaccines are just deactivated viruses, units or components, or antigens which induce immune reactions from the receiving individual. The effectiveness of vaccination lies on its induction of memory immune cells that act against multiple attacks of the corresponding natural infective exposure. Vaccine production Initially embryonated eggs were used for the propagation of virus units for vaccine production. In this process, an aliquot of virus solution is injected into the allantoic cavity of a 10- to 11-day old embryonated egg. The infected eggs are then incubated in temperatures suitable for growth of the virus (Szretter et al., 2006). However, since egg-based vaccine production imply that individuals with egg allergies cannot be vaccinated, a different host was searched for. With the parallel development of cancer cell research, hyperproliferative cancer cells were seen as a better means of vaccine production. Firstly, individuals allergic to egg-based products can now avail of vaccinations. Secondly, cell culture-based production is more cost-efficient than egg-based production because cancer cells are much easier to culture than embryonated eggs. Similar to egg-based production, infective virus units are inoculated into a culture of a particular cancer cell line, usually Madin Darby canine kidney (MDCK) (Szretter et al., 2006). One of the novel protocols to produce vaccinations, especially the subunit vaccines, which are described later in this paper, is through recombinant protein expression. Briefly, developed expression systems, or microorganisms processed to receive genes and express proteins of other organisms, are inserted through a vector. Not only is this cost-efficient, but is much safer to handle than the culturing clinically-derived viruses. In addition, through recombinant protein expression certain mutations can be introduced to the antigen to make it more immunogenic (Zhang et al., 2007). Post harvest, the viruses undergo further processing. The virus units are weakened or deactivated either chemically, by formaldehyde or ?-propiolactone, through heat, or radiation. This deactivation prevents the vaccine from causing illness to the handlers and to the recipients. If to be used in another time, these harvested viruses are also stored in liquid nitrogen (Szretter et al.,