Red biotechnology refers to the utilization of different organisms to amend healthcare and medical processes. It is a branch of modern biotechnology which is used in medicine. Red biotechnology can be used in diagnostics for example screening the blood to test for HIV, gene therapy which is important to treat disorders that occur in the body by replacing the defected genes with healthy ones, making vaccines, trials and clinical tests. Medicines that are produced through biotechnology utilize proteins as proteins assist the body to combat diseases. Some of the biopharmaceuticals produced through biotechnology are proteins, nucleic acids, DNA, RNA and antibodies , these are mainly used for therapeutic or diagnostic aims.
History of Red Biotechnology
The golden age of red biotechnology started in the 1970’s when the recombinant DNA (rDNA) techniques were developed, when Paul Berg and his team in Stanford university 1972 conducted experiments on a simian virus that was attached to a DNA segment in a bacterium . There techniques were then developed by others , this allowed genes coding for different proteins to be inserted in to foreign bodies that are then used to produce the desired proteins .
Applications of Red biotechnology :
Red biotechnology has achieved a huge success in diagnostics although diagnostics have a smaller share in the market than therapeutics.
The two main contributions to diagnostics are:
• Pre-diagnosis : the ability to discover the predisposition of diseases .
• Prognostication : the ability to figure out the consequences of a certain disease.
Nucleic acid tests:
The basis of genetic replication were first discovered by Watson and Crick in 1953 .The PCR is a technique to isolate and amplify a fragment of DNA through enzymatic replication .
Role in infectious diseases:
Nucleic acid test for HIV can measure the amount of HIV in blood ,this is used in screening donated blood in blood banks to decrease the chance of getting infected with HIV if the patient is undergoing blood transfusion .
Other tests can be conducted to discover the amount of certain virus in patient’s blood such as Hepatitis B and C viruses, Cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr virus .
Role in Cancer:
In hereditary cancers , genetic screening using PCR methods offers a chance in early diagnosis of cancer . Genetic screening help in identification of family members who posses the cancer gene breast and ovarian cancer in females.
Prenatal genetic screening:
It is offered in many countries and it help in diagnosis of genetic disorders , and therefore gives the option of terminating the embryo early .These disorders may include down’s syndrome , hymophilia , cystic fibrosis and others . but ethical and legal implications may be present.
Advantages of red biotechnology:
Progress in red biotechnology have increased the effectiveness of different treatments , For example : it increased the rate of survival from cancerous diseases .
Red biotechnology has helped in finding many solutions for chronic diseases.
Some examples :
• Anemia - recombinant Erythropoetin.
• Diabetes – recombinant Human Insulin.
• Multiple sclerosis – recombinant Interferons.
Red biotechnology could also be used in targeting rare diseases which range between 5000 to 8000 diseases that affect from 60% to 80% of a population .It could also be used in improving medicinal drugs to treat many dangerous life threatening rare diseases.