Making a new discovery about a disease is just the first step to finding a cure. Further work must be done to develop a treatment and then optimize the treatment for improving human health. Things that would require such fine-tuning might include: maximizing a drug’s affinity to its molecular target, minimizing side-effects from the drug binding improper targets, increasing the efficiency of the delivery of the drug to the affected tissue, and altering the pharmacokinetics of the drug to create a workable dosage schedule. The field of bio-engineering uses the principles of engineering to address these challenges.
Technological progress in the 1800s was driven by engineering in the field of chemistry and steam power. Progress in the 1900s was driven by engineering in electronics. Progress in the next century will be driven by engineering in biology. By creating standard biological components and manipulating biological systems like machines, synthetic biologists are laying the ground for the era of progress.
Dr. Matthew Putman is researching synthetic biology. Specific potential therapies in this area include rapidly setting polymers for extreme wound treatment and nanosystems for precise drug delivery. Click here to learn more about Dr. Putman’s research projects.
In the video below, The Cure Is Now, Chair of the Science Advisory Board, Russell Hanson, speaks about Synthetic Biology and the future of medical research.