What is Biotechnology?
Biotechnology uses biological sources such
as microorganisms or cells to develop products that are useful to people.
everywhere, from food and drugs to biofuels and microorganisms that help
control pollution. It makes life more comfortable people and offers solutions
to social and environmental problems.
The term biotechnology was coined in 1919
by the Hungarian agricultural engineer Károly Ereky, decades before the
discovery of DNA in 1953.
He believed that it would be possible to solve
problems such as food and energy shortages.
Today, his dream has become a
reality, and numerous companies and research institutions develop biotechnology
products, with seemingly unlimited potential to benefit people.
Any drug produced from biological sources
is a biotech medicine, or biologic. In the 1970s, however, genetic engineering created
a new class of biologics: the designed organic molecules.
These molecules are produced by cells or
microorganisms genetically modified in order to have the desired therapeutic
effect. Some of the biologics that were already used long ago, such as vaccines
and insulin, are now produced by modern genetic engineering.
Natural molecules are much larger than the
small molecules of traditional synthetic drugs, such as painkillers and
antibiotics, which are developed chemically.
Another difference is that
biologics cannot be ingested, because its complex molecules are degraded in digestion.
They must be applied by injection or infusion.
The medicine of the future will be highly
customized based on each individual’s genome and epigenetic, i.e., the
influence of environmental factors in reading the cell's DNA.
will be done through the analysis of genes and their regulation, which will
also indicate the dosage and administration form of the drug, according to
individual characteristics of the patient.
In Brazil, biologics are only available to
patients after approval by ANVISA.