New Applications of Life Science Technology
Advances in life science technology are drastically improving clinical research and practical applications in everything from surgery to cosmetics in today’s world. New methods and materials offer scientists access to increasingly accurate data on how cells function and communicate with each other. Below are a few of the new tools available on the market for exploring life on a cellular level.
Cell based assays are a valuable tool to measure cellular and biochemical functions. They are versatile and can be designed to provide a range of data on nearly any aspect of biological activity. They used to be available only in laboratories, but biotech companies are now making assay kits for use in a clinical setting, providing fast and cost-effective results for researchers and medical professionals in-house. Assays are also being designed for industrial use to provide rapid and accurate information on chemical compounds, bringing potentially life-saving drugs and devices to trials and then to the public market that much sooner.
Cell signaling, or the way that cells communicate and determine activity, is a fascinating area of scientific discovery. Learning what happens when cell communication fails has led to astounding breakthroughs in the study of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders. Currently, life scientists are developing simulation models for signaling to expand theories on how cell components work together and how they react to anomalies. Information from these models may lead to the effective treatment of many life-threatening diseases and possibly to the creation of viable, biocompatible, artificial tissue in the near future.
In vivo multispectral imaging allows scientists to examine live cell behavior in close to real time. The imaging process uses luminescence, fluorescence, and radioisotopes to mark and follow the behavior of organelles and proteins. Initially used on research animals and lab cultures, this technology is expanding and experiencing refinement to a point where it may soon be an everyday diagnostic tool for human patients.
Biotechnology is a field that creates new challenges for itself and other disciplines with every new discovery. As technology makes accurate data analysis available to medical clinicians and professionals in other industries without recourse to time-consuming and expensive laboratory tests, knowledge is shared while keeping costs down. Analytical labs are not exactly suffering from these developments, however, as breakthroughs in microbiology and pharmacology are bringing new and exciting problems to solve and a continuing demand for more data that can be discovered faster, better, and cheaper.