New invention in the field of medicine
- In the peaceful use of nuclear science, nuclear medicine has a prominent place. The alpha, beta and gamma radiations from radioactive nucleus have revealed their curative power. Today, Radio-isotopes have become invaluable tools to solve many complex diseases.
- Though the use of Radio-isotopes to cure diseases goes back to 1938, its full development took place in the 70s. Nuclear medicine uses the tracer principle which was evolved by George Hevesy for which he got the Nobel prize in 1944.
- Today, the Positron Emission Tomography has revolutionised the field of nuclear medicine. The main Radio-isotopes used in nuclear medicine include Cobalt-60, Iridium-192, Gold-199, Oxygen -15, Nitrogen-13, Carbon-11, Fluorine- 18, Rubidium-82, Copper-62, Gallium-68, etc. They are used not only for curative purpose, but also for scanning the body. Cabolt-60, Iridium- 192, and Gold-199 have been used to cure cancer. Iodine-131 is being used to cure thyroid disorders.
- Chronotherapy is relatively a new field in bio-medical science in which delivering the right therapy at the right time to optimize medical treatment and to reduce the side effects of the medicine.
- With this aim, chronologists are working to understand the mysteries of the human biological clock (circadian rhythm) and are producing substantial evidence of how synchronizing treatment of chronotherapy (timing treatment according to body’s natural rhythm) may make surgery, radiation and drug therapy more effective, significantly reducing side effects and even prolonging life.
Blood disease with GM stem cells
- Two major-technical obstacles that currently limit the success of gene therapy for human red blood cell diseases such as beta-thalassemia and sickle cell disease have been overcome by researchers at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
- The team overcame the obstacle passed by the large number of defective hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) producing faulty red blood cells in beta-thalassemia or sickle cell disease.
- The large numbers of defective HSCs thwart attempts by gene therapy to reverse the disease. HSCs are parent cells in the bone marrow that give rise to blood cells. The researchers also performed the difficult task of integrating genes into an HSCs own DNA so the HSCs function normally.
- The results offer promise for developing gene therapy to treat blood diseases in humans caused by defective haemoglobin i.e. haemoglobin that either lacks a critical protein called beta globin or that contains a mutated form of the protein.
- Haemoglobin is the oxygen carrying protein in red blood cells. Replacing red blood cells that carry defective haemoglobin with red cells that carry defective haemoglobin with red cells that have normal haemoglobin is a potential strategy for curing these disorders Beta thallassemia (Cooley’s anaemia) occurs when the haemoglobin molecule lacks the beta- globin molecule that is part of the haemoglobin molecule. In sickle cell disease, an abnormal gene for beta-globin causes haemoglobin molecules in the red blood cell to dump together and distort flowing freely, sickle-shaped red cells sludge and block blood vessels. This cut off of blood flow can cause pain, stroke, leg ulcers, bone damage and other medical problems.
- The researchers chose beta-thalassemia and sickle cells diseases as targets for their gene therapy study because both diseases could potentially be treated by modifying HSCs with normal genes for gamma-globins, which is usually produced only during foetal life.
New Technique for Regenerating Organs
- An Indian doctor has achieved a major breakthrough by developing a technique for regeneration of organs and tissue using cells taken from the patients themselves.
- The technique has recently been granted patent by the U.S. patent and trade mark office. The technique is expected to revolutionize medical science as it could do away with organ and tissue transplants and thus avoid the problems associated with them. The major advantage of this new technique is that no donor would be anymore required to replace diseased organs. Also, as the new tissues and organs would be formed within the body using its own cells, there would be no problem of acceptance of foreign bodies, which had been a major problem associated with transplants.
- In addition, unlike transplant surgeries, no post operative treatment by expensive immune suppressant drugs would be required.
- A Massachusetts based Abiomed Company has proposed for production of artificial heart named Abiocor and Jarvik 2000.
- The development of microprocessors bio-goods motors and batteries have made the task easy.
- The pumping mechanism will be done by motors and the microprocessors will maintain the blood flow.
- The patients using Jarvik 2000 will have to bear a belt to reactivate the battery. The battery will be attached to a plug which will provide energy to the heart through wires.
- Abiocore uses a better technique where wires are not needed. It uses a coil and a battery in the stomach, which will receive the energy from outer battery by radio waves. Scientists contemplate it to be a substitute for ventricle.
This article is for educational purpose only.