Biotechnology is a vast field that incorporates technology with biological systems to create innovative solutions. Modern biotechnology generates advanced outcomes through the utilization of modern concepts and technology.
It covers various disciples like genetics, biochemistry, agriculture, medicine, and industrial systems. Through the advancement of new procedures, Biotechnology is leading in all aspects of life enabling the humankind to experience better and innovative methodologies.
Further, this article represents a list of innovative biotech trends for 2019 that are either on-going or paving their way into the world of modern biotechnology.
1. Interpenetrating new types of Polymers
Until now, Organic polymers have been used in sensors, LEDs, and other devices. PPVs are polymers that are used in solar cells or LEDs as they have certain technological properties.
A new type of Polymer called S-PPVs is mainly in the process as TU Wien claims that it is possible to replace the oxygen side groups (O-PPVs) with sulfur side groups (S-PPVs) and it has significant qualities which could improve the transport of electrical current and enhance the stability of the polymer.
This new type of polymers will become excellent candidates for their use in medical and industrial applications as they have electronic properties and biocompatibility too.
CRISPR is a part of genetic engineering that involves a sequence of DNA. It is a powerful tool that allows the researchers to modify the gene function or alter the DNA sequences. Recently, He Jiankui, a researcher from China announced the birth of twins with the use of CRISPR gene tool.
The tool is further receiving clinical trials in China, the U.S, and Europe. The researchers are trying their best to find out ways to treat specific diseases in adult patients.
3. Organ on a Chip
The method is used for studying the behavior of certain tissues and organs to understand their complexities. Organs-on-chips is a technology that enables the researchers to combine organ chips into organ systems on chips.
For instance, combining a brain chip and a neuron chip to understand the chemistry and the function of the brain better.
4. Hydroculture or Agritech
The term ‘hydroculture’ is nothing new in the world of Agriculture and Technology. The method ‘Hydroponics’ is a classic example of hydroculture that supports the method of plants growing with the help of mineral nutrients without the use of soil.
The procedure has been modernized to detect the pulses of the water to crops through cloud-based sensors within the comfort of the homes.
5. The use of AI or Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are beginning to represent a whole new layer of innovation in the industry through the transformation of biotech data.
Companies and biotech startups are implementing AI and Machine learning for drug discovery and other purposes. The major concern of the companies using cloud computing is managing the data privacy of the patients though people in the US have already managed to overcome this situation.
6. Silicon Biology
The next biggest step in the biotech industry that will propose new functions out of biology which would be useful for human beings.
The mutant enzyme is engineered to produce self-generated organo-silicon compounds while increasing the ability to create molecules through microbes. The process of evolving silicon in organic molecules is better as compared to carbon since it is environment-friendly and cost-effective.
The pros and cons of the organo-silicon compounds are still under process as the researchers are looking for techniques to utilize the molecules for further research.
7. Molecular Robots
It is evident that the future belongs to the robots. Rebecca Schulman is a researcher who studies DNA nanostructures at John Hopkins. She has already escalated that the creation of molecular robots will require cooperation between the biochemists and computer scientists.
Schulman has proposed creating a hydrogel-based “operating system” to run molecular robots to manage tasks and consume less energy.
Of course, there are certain challenges regarding the complexity and reproducibility of these robots but the idea is getting scrutinized and many scientists are already working to incorporate synthetic biology with basic biological understanding.
8. De novo gene
A new study by the University of Chicago published assumptions about how new proteins evolve. The huge discovery shows that these de novo or from scratch genes can contribute to biodiversity.
Long’s team worked with groups from the University of China and Arizona to cultivate and harvest their own rice plants in Hainan for the proteomics sampling. After analyzing, these plants detected at least 175 de novo genes. Another group found out that these genes could actually convert into new proteins.
The new proteins are considered to function better or bring some kind of benefit to the organisms. The researchers are still interested to carry out the procedure to insert or delete a genome to generate new protein sequences.
9. Wearables in Medicine
Wearable medical devices (WMDs) are expected to take over a larger market share in the future as they help people in pursuing a better and healthy lifestyle.
They are also beneficial to provide the required medical data through the continuous tracking of status. These flexible devices include wristbands, hearing aids, smart watches, sensors, electronic footwear etc.
10. In-body GPS- A GPS inside your body
The researchers and doctors have suggested a way to implant sensors to track tumors and even drugs.
Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory led by professor Dina Katabi are working on ReMix or ‘in-body GPS to locate the implants inside the body through low-power wireless signals.
The group first implanted a small marker in animal tissues to test ReMix and track its movement. The team used wireless technology to detect the heart rate and breathing movements at the exact location of the marker.
The signals are 100 million times more powerful in a person’s skin which is a key challenge for all the researchers, though the group has found a solution to filter out the skin-related signals using a semiconductor device called a diode. The diode picks the combined frequencies and filters out the original ones.
In future, ReMix would be used to treat the cancer patients through the proton therapy and a small marker like ReMix would determine the location of a tumor to improve the accuracy of the movement and to deal with it.
11. The use of Nanobots
The nano-bot has already been used to extract valuable information about the cancer cells to enhance the treatment process.
The researchers have created a set of optical tweezers that can locate a nano-scale bead inside a human cell useful in personalized medicine treatments.
Xian Wang who won the noble prize in 2018 for the same research also highlighted some challenges related to the damaging of the sub-cellular components.
While according to Sun, the use of nano-bots can block the blood vessels or destroy the tumor directly through mechanical ablation leading to better results than chemotherapy.
12. Enhanced 3-D imaging for advanced treatments
The 2D and 3D imaging is used in various fields to apply medicinal concepts on different parts of the body. Recently, researchers have come up with another technology named PySight which enhances the 3D imaging to understand the functions of the brain and health problems such as stroke or dementia in an effective way.
PySight is merely to assist the laser scanning microscopy techniques as it improves the quality of the 3D imaging in the living brain and works under a rapid environment.
The Biotech world is filled with amazing discoveries that are yet to be applied to the modern data sciences and life. All thanks to these researchers and biotech analysts who aren’t hesitating to bring forth advanced methods and technologies to the world to tackle health and real-life problems.