A number of biotechnology approaches are being used for medical therapy. These include:
Modifying cells within the body. A particularly new aspect of biotechnology. Some examples include:
- Adding new genes to existing cells to treat diseases caused by inborn errors in metabolism.
- Growing replacement tissue or organs in the laboratory and implanting them as replacement parts. This technique, though more speculative than the first example, is still within the realm of possibilities.
- Controlled use of mechanical stimulation and electromagnetic fields to influence cell proliferation and/or selective synthesis. This synthesis can enable non-invasive treatment of disease and injury.
Affinity separation of biomolecules from complex mixtures and the creation of biologically-benign surfaces for:
- Eliminating cancerous cells.
- Purifying bone marrow for transplantation.
- Creating ultra-pure molecules, such as pharmaceuticals.