Biotechnology the Future
Gene therapy involves inserting genes into the cells of patients to replace defective genes with new, functional genes. The field is still in its experimental stages but has grown greatly since the first clinical trial in 1990.
Stem cells are unspecialized cells that can mature into different types of functional cells. Stem cells can be grown in a lab and guided toward the desired cell type and then surgically implanted into patients. The goal is to replace diseased tissue with new, healthy tissue.
Nanomedicine aims to manipulate molecules and structures on an atomic scale. One example is the experimental use of nanoshells, or metallic lenses, which convert infrared light into heat energy to destroy cancer cells.
New drug delivery systems include microscopic particles called microspheres with holes just large enough to dispense drugs to their targets. Microsphere therapies are available and being investigated for the treatment of various cancers and diseases.