Biomedical Technology Term Paper

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Biomedical Technology

The field of Biomedical Technology has been growing by leaps and over the past half-century. At the beginning of that time many research scientists and their funding corporations were starting to realize the amazing potential of this field for both for humanitarian and commercial use. The advances alone in the use of recombinant DNA techniques as well as that of cell fusion and other advances in were revealing tremendous potential regarding their impact on the health, life and the longevity of human beings. (Blackford, 2006, p. 526) Biomedical technology has become a tremendous boon to mankind creating completely new approaches in the treatment of diseases and the consequent extension of life expectancy than had never been imagined previously. In our lifetime we have certainly seen the immediate effect of this in fact; evident in such advances that have enabled paramedics and doctors to artificially maintain the body's critical functions in emergency situations that would have otherwise resulted in immediate death ("Death," 2007). While many feel that some of the research conducted in this area may cross the line on certain moral and ethical dilemmas, there can be no argument that these new achievements have improved the quality of life and increased the ability to probe ever deeper into the mysteries of existence. As mankind continues to develop in all areas, research into biomedical technology will continue to grow and increase in knowledge and techniques providing ever more benefits to humanity.

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Although having its roots much earlier, it was in the 1970'sthat the rate of technological advancement was a steep upward curve of advancement. This was largely due in part in the beginning from research by the pharmaceutical industry. These innovation coupled with a sense of entrepreneurship in the United States were the fuels that drove the engine of biomedical research at that time, and in many ways are still the ongoing catalyst for advancement. Another was the supply of:

TOPIC: Term Paper on Biomedical Technology Assignment

an abundance of basic knowledge that was the cumulative result of decades of generous public funding of academic research in molecular biology and medicine. Intellectual property protection and technology transfer regimes channeled this knowledge into the market, where highly mobile scientists and entrepreneurs, supported by a large venture capital industry, shouldered the burdens of founding and growing companies around it. (Collins, 2004, p. 147)

As early as 1985, Dr. Charles S. Scroggin was indicating that there was a need for medical professionals to keep up with the ever-increasing wealth of information and tools becoming available in the biomedical technology field. This was especially true in the area of genetic research:

Because these approaches are yielding fundamental insights for diagnosing and treating disease, it is important that practitioners begin to understand these methods and how they are used. Methods for genetic analysis using recombinant DNA techniques consist of isolation, separation, propagation in microorganisms and molecular hybridization of DNA. The study of RNA allows determination of gene expression. These methods are being used to understand cancer, identify hereditary illness, produce pharmaceuticals and diagnose common clinical problems, such as infectious diseases. (Scroggin, 1985, p. 819)

These advances in biotechnology have also created avenues and insights into areas of illness previously thought to be untreatable by any organic means. Certain forms of mental illness, such as depression and anxiety, are now regularly treatable by drug therapies, in combination with talk therapies, with remarkable results. There are also great strides that have been made since the mapping of the human genome creating subsequent discoveries such as the possible genetic treatment for many other diseases such as Alzheimer's and schizophrenia which are close at hand.

The mapping of the brain is made possible by a variety of new technologies that permit us to understand things on a large scale, a scale that neuroscientists refer to as the "level of systems, " by which they mean functions of the mind such as memory and attention. The mapping of the genome is made possible by spectacular advances in the technology of molecular genetics and molecular biology, which work on a very small scale at the level of the molecule. The achievements of these two endeavors are described in detail in chapters 4 through 6 of this book. (Andreasen, 2003, p. 7)

This boon to mankind is also a boon to many corporations that have already patented many new biomedical technologies and the search for more continues to create further jobs in this field. In fact in Hecker's report, Occupational Employment Projections to 2014, he notes that, "Employment of biomedical engineers is projected to grow almost twice as fast as employment of industrial engineers over the 2004-14 period: 30.7%, compared with 16%" (Hecker, 2005, 70).

In specific areas such as therapeutic cloning there is certainly research that requires much more exploration. However, beside corporations there is also a need for more support, both economically and legally from governmental organizations and legislature.

Such research," Harold Varmus, the former NIH director, wrote last year in the New York Times, "is vital not just to biotechnology companies and their investors, but to the nation as a whole. By structuring our system so that only those with private funds or a commercial motive do this pioneering work we curb our full capacity to expand our scientific understanding." To put it another way: as long as a federal-funding ban remains in place, the organizations most likely to move forward with therapeutic-cloning research will be [large] companies bedeviled by the need to raise money, generate buzz, and please investors. (Dunn, 2002, p. 32)

Furthermore, there is certainly some strong opposition to many of these new technologies and the type of control they may have over the birth and development of a human being. (Hanson, 1997, p. 1-2) This for many is the fear of playing God and walking an ethically slippery slope when it comes to certain discoveries in gene manipulation that are at the forefront of this challenge. Dr. Kass in his book of readings from the President's Council entitled "Being Human," has the following to say:

They are human dilemmas individual, familial, social, political and spiritual - confronted by human beings at various stages in the human lifespan, embedded in networks of meaning and relation, and informed by varying opinions and beliefs about better and worse, right and wrong, and how we live." ("Playing God on the," 2005, p. A19)

For instance the ability to alter genes in an early embryo, which has not been given any sort of choice, has many religious and ethical complications. Certainly one would think that increasing someone's abilities could do no harm, yet there may be some circumstances that may prove this increase a disadvantage or in antagonism to another person and perhaps for some certain way of life. "Even improved health, perhaps from a boost to an individual's immune system, could be disadvantageous in some imaginable circumstances. The same applies to higher intelligence or to any other modified ability." (Blackford, 2006, p. 526) However, this should not restrict research and development to the point where decades may be lost in the search for cures and hope may be lost for those suffering needlessly. The legislative oppositions must find some middle ground that enhances the benefits to all.

Currently, these restraints especially on such areas as embryo research have produced a devastating impact on the expansion of the biomedical technologies involved with regenerative medicine. There are other consequences besides slowing the progress of research in the United State"...which has the most powerful biomedical research effort in the world. Such research has now moved to Britain and other countries, such as Singapore, which is funding a huge program to explore embryonic stem cells" (Stock, 2002, p. 17-18). This may prove to be an economic as well as humanitarian disadvantage in the near future.

It must be remembered that while many think that some of these advances may change our inherent nature as human beings, the research being done is essential if we are to continue as human beings at all. Steve Markis, a reporter for attended a biomedical technology exposition in Alberta. He interviewed the inventor of a rare cell detector, who was reminded of the all too human component of this research. Dr. Richard Bruce, the inventor of the detector had watched as many doctors viewing the result of his device with amazement and wonder, but what struck him the most was one moment that seemed to remind him of the real reasons behind all this research and technology. After watching another Doctor as she used his device to see one cell in detail, Dr. Bruce remarked:

After reviewing several images, she stopped to stare at a cancer cell, and I was struck with awe at our mortality. The emotional connection to the work deepened as patients who had been contributing samples to our study passed away." (Markis 2008)

It is this mortality, this suffering that the field of biomedical technology is really all about. While researchers can certainly be caught up in the quest… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Biomedical Technology" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Biomedical Technology.  (2008, May 30).  Retrieved September 26, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Biomedical Technology."  30 May 2008.  Web.  26 September 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Biomedical Technology."  May 30, 2008.  Accessed September 26, 2021.