26 Nov 2022


10 Amazing Biotechnology Facts You Need to Know

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The gradual but definitive advancements in science and technology have revolutionized modern clinical care. Ailments that would have inevitably resulted in death can now be properly diagnosed and treated or managed to give the patients a good quality of life. The ability to properly diagnose and manage ailments has extended from communicable diseases to the more complex non-communicable diseases including cancer. Among the cancers that have become treatable due to modern science and technology is leukaemia, the cancer of white blood cells. Among the available technology for the treatment of leukaemia is Somatic Stem Cell Therapy where bone marrow transplant is used to cure leukaemia (Atala & Lanza, 2012). It takes advanced knowledge in science and development in technology to make Somatic Stem Cell Therapy possible, safe and effective respectively.

Science versus Technology 

The terms ‘science’ and ‘technology’ have been used together for so long that they can be used interchangeably yet they differ exponentially. Science relates to the general study and knowledge about definitive phenomena. In science, knowledge is a result of study and entails systematically testing phenomena to understand issues. Technology, on the other hand, entails the use of science to develop products, both good and services that can be used to develop human life. To use the subject of the essay as an example, understanding what leukaemia is science while developing definitive ways to cure it such as somatic stem cell therapy amounts to technology. Science and technology are thus related to the understanding of the former leading to the development of the latter.

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Selected Biotechnology: Somatic Stem Cell Therapy 

The specific technology selected for analysis herein is somatic stem cell technology used for the management of leukaemia. Leukaemia is a kind of cancer that affects white blood cells in the body. White blood cells provide immunity by fighting antigens. However, when the cells become cancerous, they not only no longer fight antigens but also interfere with other bodily processes (Atala & Lanza, 2012). Somatic stem cell therapy entails the replacement of somatic stem cells in the body affected by leukaemia with stem fresh stem cells. The fresh somatic stem cells with then produce non-cancerous white blood cells hence clearing out leukaemia. However, for the fresh somatic cells to be introduced, all the old white blood cells need to be eliminated through the process called immunosuppression. After immunosuppression, somatic stem cells from the bone marrow of a donor shall be introduced into the blood of the leukaemia patient (Atala & Lanza, 2012). This stem cells will settle in the bone marrow of the recipient and commence to produce clean white blood cells.

Scientific Discoveries That Made this Biotechnology Possible 

Several mundane and advanced scientific discoveries were necessary for the advancement of the biotechnology analyzed above. Key among this is the discovery of Genetics generally and more specifically DNA. It is through genetics and DNA that scientists were able to understand how cells replicate to make parts and elements of the body including white blood cells (Atala & Lanza, 2012). The second key scientific discovery is the concept of gene mutations that enabled an understanding of what cancer is. Understanding what cancer is became a fundamental aspect of establishing how to cure leukaemia.

Technologies that Made the Biotechnology Possible 

Once again, a lot of different forms of advanced technology is necessary to make the instant biotechnology possible, some being mundane while others are extremely advanced (Atala & Lanza, 2012). Among the simplest but invaluable forms of technology that makes somatic stem cell therapy possible is the absolute sterilization of objects. On the one hand, somatic stem cell research entails delving into the bone marrow of a healthy individual hence absolute sterilization of the objects being used is fundamental to prevent infection. Sterilization also plays an important role in the introduction of stem cells into the bloodstream of a patient with absolutely no immunity due to immunosuppression (Atala & Lanza, 2012). The second important technology necessary for the type of biotechnology above is advanced blood screening. The advanced screening of blood is necessary to test for the viability if the stem cell donor to donate to the recipient.

Pro Et Contra 

Biotechnology has a varied set of positives and negatives based on how it affects the community. For a start, biotechnology such as Somatic stem cell therapy can reduce death and suffering for patients. Biotechnology has made it possible for diseases that would otherwise have resulted in death to be curable (Atala & Lanza, 2012). Biotechnology also has economic benefits as it both reduces the labour drain caused by disease and also, in some cases lowers the cost of treatment. Among the negatives of biotechnology is its adverse effects some of which have not even been discovered. For example, bone marrow transplant may cure leukaemia, but it is hard to tell how the body will react years down the line. Secondly, biotechnology has raised serious ethical issues, including scientists who may seek to play God through human experimentation (Atala & Lanza, 2012). Based on the last negative effect, there are some forms of biotechnology that are possible and should not be pursued, such as growing bodies for the purposes of harvesting organs, which must be ethically wrong in spite of its benefits.


Traditionally, leukaemia patients would face great suffering followed by death, without even getting to know what they are suffering from. Advancements in science led to the understanding that leukaemia was a form of gene mutation affecting the white blood cells. Further, science led to the discovery that white blood cells are made from somatic stem cells; hence new somatic stem cells can cure leukaemia. It is upon this science that biotechnology was developed to safely remove somatic stem cells form a viable donor and introduce them into the body of a leukaemia patient. This biotechnology has saved many lives and mitigated a lot of suffering; hence making a good argument in favour of biotechnology. However, care should be taken to avoid excesses of biotechnology such as extreme human experiments.


Atala, A., & Lanza, R. (Eds.). (2012).  Handbook of stem cells . Cambridge, Massachusetts: Academic Press.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). 10 Amazing Biotechnology Facts You Need to Know.


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