From Science Fiction to Reality: Biomedical Devices and their Impact on Genomics
In recent years, our world has expanded beyond imagination, brimming with new horizons forged by cutting-edge technologies. In this era of possibilities, the very fabric of life has transformed. Our existence has been stretched to new limits, with human longevity doubling compared to bygone days, all thanks to the remarkable synergy of improved environments, nourishing diets, and revolutionary medicine.
Gone are the days when the specter of early demise loomed large. The odds of crossing the half-century mark have plummeted dramatically, ushering us into an age where the very essence of existence has been smoothed by the wondrous convergence of technology and medical breakthroughs. The realm of modern medicine has flourished into a vibrant tapestry of specialized fields, harmonizing in their united pursuit of enhancing lives.
Among these pioneering domains lies the realm of biomedical devices. These devices aren’t mere tools; they are our allies in safeguarding and enhancing the human experience. Think of them as instruments of care, machines of hope, and gateways to a healthier, more fulfilling life. From implants that heal to software that deciphers our cellular secrets, every facet of these devices is orchestrated to ensure our safety, diagnose our ailments, treat our maladies, and guide us on the path to recovery.
Biomedical devices are instruments, machines, implants, in vitro reagents, software, materials, or other related articles that are purposed for the safe and effective prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of illness and disease for human beings.Lam, R. W., & Chen, W. (2019)
Biomedical devices, as explained, are instruments that are used to treat and prevent diseases, especially in humans. It also plays an important role in the treatment and studying genetic diseases. Genetic diseases are caused by mutations in a person’s DNA which can result in various health problems. There are several biomedical devices currently on the market, such as gene testing equipment, which can help identify specific genetic mutations that are responsible for the disease. The information taken from the genetic testing can be used to then develop a personalized treatment plan for the patient, which is tailored to the individual’s unique genetic makeup. At the vanguard of this revolution lies the prowess of next-generation sequencing (NGS). This technological marvel marries speed with scalability, unearthing the treasure trove of disease biomarkers and validating their significance. In this dance between science and wonder, NGS is both conductor and composer, harmonizing to orchestrate a symphony of health.
Another product of biomedical research is gene therapy. The concept of gene therapy is to treat genetic diseases directly from the source, meaning treating the mutated genes by replacing them with healthy genes. Biomedical devices can be used to deliver healthy genes to the affected cells in a targeted and controlled way.
Currently, there is a newly developed biomedical device that has been gaining popularity due to its concept and application. This new biomedical device is known as the organ-on-chip. Organ-on-chips is a microfluidic device that mimics human physiology and pathophysiology . Basically, it means it is a miniaturized version of organs such as lungs, liver, kidneys, intestines, and other vital organs. It may sound futuristic, but it’s real. Organ-on-chip is roughly the size of a AA battery, and it is made up of flexible, translucent polymer. Inside the chip are small tubes that are lined with cells that are specifically found on the organ being studied. Then necessary nutrients, blood, and test compounds such as drugs are injected inside the tubes. The organ-on-chip will then replicate the functions of the organs. The study of organ-on-chip dates back to the 1990s, when a professor at Cornell University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering named Michael Schuler coined the term ‘animal-on-a-chip.’ In 2010, a successful chip was produced by a team of researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute led by Donald Ingber . The organ-on-chip developed mimics the lungs.
How does organ-on-chip help in genomics?
Organ-on-chip provides a more physiologically relevant platform to study genetic mutations. One of the advantages of organ-on-chip is that researchers can study the effects of genetic modifications in a more realistic context. Researchers can study the impact of specific mutations on a function of a particular organ, or they can examine the role of certain genes in disease progression. In addition, it lessens the usage of animal models since data taken from the animal model can frequently fail to predict the results obtained in human trials . The lack of human-relevant preclinical models can result in a high failure rate and higher costs for both the company and patients. There is still a long way to go before organ-on-chip becomes the sole testing model for understanding the human body, diseases, and drug development. However, the continuous development of organ-on-chip will result in a revolutionized biomedical device capable of an accurate and efficient way of studying the human body.
In this grand narrative of progress, biomedical devices stand not just as instruments but as the champions of life’s potential. They embody our quest to elevate existence, echoing the belief that a healthier, richer world is within our grasp. So, as we navigate this landscape of possibilities, let us remember that these devices are more than machines – they are our allies on the voyage to a brighter, healthier future.
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