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Biomedical Technology

In: Science

Submitted By lyndseykessler
Words 2247
Pages 9
Lyndsey Kessler
English 4A
24th Nov. 2014
Mrs. Nills
Biomedical Technology: Today’s Experiments Tomorrow’s Medicine I am sure you have heard of mammograms and MRIs, but did you know that they are a part of biomedical technology? Biomedical technology is any medical imaging device or a medical practice that involves biology or technology. Some people do not believe in biomedical technology because they say it had not been proven safe or effective, but it has already saved lives. This is why biomedical technology should be used in medical practices My first reason is that biomedical technology could help save many lives. This technology has the potential to cure many diseases, one example is that scientists have found that stem cells can become a wide variety of specialized cells, this could help cure Alzheimer’s. They also have the potential to help people that are paralyzed. Biomedical technology has already found ways to detect and cure many life threatening diseases. With mammograms and MRIs doctors can detect breast cancer along with other diseases much faster than they have been able to in the past. This could potentially help cure those who are diagnosed. My second reason is that biomedical technology can increase treatment options. Since mammograms and MRIs help detect diseases sooner there are many different ways to treat these diseases some of which may not be as severe. For example instead of doing radiation for cancer right away you could undergo surgery to try to remove the cancer first. My third reason is that new medical practices can be discovered by using biomedical technology. Stem cells, mammograms, MRIs, and genetic engineering are all biomedical technologies. The discovery of stem cells have made an advancement in the medical world because they can turn into muscle cells, skin cells, and many other cells. Mammograms have made it easier to detect breast cancer. There are all medical advancements and why I believe biomedical technology should be used in medical practices Now that I have explained why I believe biomedical technology should be used in medical practices. I will explain what biomedical technology is, how it is used, and the history of it. Biomedical technology is the use of technology and engineering standards in the medical field. Medical imaging devices such as MRIs and mammograms, in-virto fertilization, genetic engineering, stem cells, and cloning are a few of the many examples of biomedical technology. Most biomedical technology is used for therapeutic purposes but, they can also make people look younger, perform better, feel happier (Staff). The main goal of biomedical technologies is to aid individuals with physical disabilities. So their importance in society is significant (Katsioloudis).
Tissue Engineering is one type of biomedical technology. Tissue engineering is when scientists invent ways to grow human tissue and organs outside the human body, which can be transplanted into patients. This biomedical technology has been successful in creating human skin. In 2005 scientists began working on making muscles and found ways to use skeletal myoblasts, endothelial cells, and embryonic fibroblast to create vascularized skeletal muscle tissue. Creating this skeletal muscle is the first step in the engineering of complex tissues for transplant. (Tisssue Engineering Shows its Muscles).
Another type of biomedical technology is Genetic Engineering. This is when the genetic structure of a plant, animal or food product is altered to provide it with certain traits. Scientists have been able to influence genes to treat and prevent diseases and create organs for human transplant all with the help of the Human Genome Project (Staff, At Issue: Genetic Engineering). The Human Genome Project is made up of a large number of research laboratories led by the US and Celera Genomics, which is a private company (Ho). There are many reasons why biomedical technology should be used in medical practices, I will be focusing on three. My first reason is that biomedical technology can save lives. Biomedical technology has the potential to save lives and already has saved many. According to Daniel Q. Haney, In 2002 Chicago doctors had restored to life to a dead heart muscle by inserting it with cells from the patients thigh muscles or bones. This research will help find an alternative for people in need of implants, which is approximately five million people in the United States (Haney). With this many people possibly in need of transplants they could have to wait years before they would be able to receive one. A heart is something the human body has to have, if someone has a heart that is failing and can’t get a transplant right away they could die. If doctors are able to take cells from the patient’s thigh muscles or bones they wouldn’t have to wait years and their lives could be saved.
According to the same source, Two years earlier in France, a 72 year old man had a badly damaged heart and it was having trouble pumping the blood. His doctor inserted millions of skeletal muscle cells that were immature into the patient’s heart. This patient’s heart did begin to pump more powerfully, but it was unclear if it was the new cells or the coronary-bypass surgery that happened at the same time. Dr. Philippe Mnansche of Paris has repeated the experiment ten times, and has seen very encouraging results and evidence that the new cells do help immensely (Haney). With the technology that is already available to help people with heart problems and the new technology of placing immature skeletal muscle cells into the damaged heart thousands of more lives can be saved. Scientist also have found ways to make muscle tissue. According to, Tissue Engineering Shows its Muscles, Shulamit Levenberg of the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa had cultured mouse myoblasts with human endothelial cells, which would form a system of blood-vessel like tubes in the engineered skeletal muscle tissue. This engineered tissue was inserted into the backs of mice and into the muscles of rats. The implants blood vessels grew into the host tissue and the host’s blood vessels grew into the implanted tissue (Tisssue Engineering Shows its Muscles). If scientists can find a way to use this procedure on humans there would be a lot less transplant rejections which can cause many problems, some as severe as death. Once again patients would not have to be placed on a transplant list if they had skeletal muscle tissue on hand at the hospitals. Many critics who oppose the use of biomedical technology in medical practices say they should be restricted until it is proven effective. However, there is evidence to suggest that biomedical technology is effective. According to, a leading issues timeline, in 1991 a young girl named Natalie Curry was suffering from a blood disorder that is very rare. When her younger sister was born cells from her umbilical cord were transplanted into Natalie. She survived and the transplant was a success. Nine years later a couple in Colorado had a daughter with a rare genetic disease, called Fancioni anemia, which prevents the body from creating bone marrow. The couple created a genetically screened test tube baby. They hoped that the using the babies umbilical cord blood cells would save their daughters life. The transplant was also successful (P. Staff). My second reason is that biomedical technology will increase treatment options. There are many great technologies already available for treating cancer and other life threatening diseases, but with biomedical technology many alternative options will be available for patients. According to, Tissue Engineering Shows its Muscles, because scientists have found ways to make skeletal muscle cells there will be a treatment for people that are paralyzed. Even though scientists have not tested these new tissues in the human body, they have tested them in mice and it was a success (Tisssue Engineering Shows its Muscles). Since there is no treatment now for paralysis patients this would be a major breakthrough. They could potentially regain the ability to walk or move their arms again. In New York City in 2013, a scientist named Nina Tandon is experimenting with cells. According to, TED Radio Hour, Nina Tandon had been working on taking cells from a patient’s heart or liver, and creating a new heart or liver that is exactly the same as the one the cells were taken from.“ The heart is pretty tough. But we’re just in the beginning stages of a startup right now where we’re growing bones for skeletal reconstruction” (How Personalized Will Medicine Get?). If scientists can clone human body parts like the heart or liver it could end organ donations. This would help treatment of fatal heart diseases and the patients could get treatment immediately. According the same source, if the cloning of human body parts work they could use these body parts and see how certain parts of the body will react to the medicine. Instead of having a medicine go to market and cause harm to people they could test it in the lab. This would also be a better alternative on testing it on rats. The scientists would take tissue from the patient and cancer cells, they would grow a piece of bone, or the tissue that the cancer is in. Then they would test different drugs on that piece of tissue to see what would work best for the patient (How Personalized Will Medicine Get?). With this treatment being an option it would reduce bad reactions to medicine in cancer patients or other diseases. It would also be faster and more efficient than having the patient try a variety of different types of medicines. Now that I have shared my second reason I will explain my third reason to why biomedical technology should be used in medical practices. Biomedical technology should be used because new medical practices can be developed that could possibly be more practical and efficient. According to, Doctors Save Ohio Boy by ‘Printing’ an Airway Tube, doctors saved a boy in Ohio by laser-printing and airway tube so he could breathe. They used plastic particles and a 3-D laser to create an airway splint. The infant’s air way kept collapsing because of a birth defect, this caused his breathing to stop and most of the time his heart stopped also. He was the first patient to have an artificial airway implanted. Once they implanted the airway the baby could breathe normally for the first time. He would not have survived if he wouldn’t have had the airway implanted. In the US around 2,000 babies are born with a similar birth defect (Marchione). This is a new medical practice that could save many young children’s lives. It could also help adults that have had cancer in their trachea or windpipes. Many critics who oppose biomedical technology say patients could be at risk from computer viruses. However there is evidence to suggest that devices are often not connected to the internet. According to Christopher Weaver, devices at VA hospitals and many other hospitals around the country are blocked from the internet, and for a computer or device to get a virus it must be connected to the internet. Also if there was a virus on the devices they would be repaired without delays in patient care. These devices can also be protected from viruses by using security plans (Weaver). Another new medical practice is a 3-D mammogram. According to Rachel Saslow, some cancer screening centers are offering 3-D mammograms. It is a technology that costs more, that uses just a little more radiation but will provide a better look. Which could lead to earlier detection and less false positives. False positives are when the doctors think they detect cancer, have the patient go through treatment to realize that there was no cancer. This is very terrifying for a patient, it also can lead to invasive testing (Saslow). If we start to use 3-D mammograms there would be a lot less false positives, which would reduce fear and stress in the patients. They also would detect cancer sooner so the patient would have more time for treatment and more options. In conclusion, there are many reasons why biomedical technology should be used in medical practices including that it can save lives, increase treatment options for patients with cancer and other life threatening diseases, and new medical practices can be discovered. Biomedical technology is safe and effective so, it should be used more often in medical practices.

Works Cited
Haney, Daniel Q. "Doctors Test Hear REpair Using Muscle and Bones." The Seattle Times 18 November 2002: A5. SIRS Issues Researcher.
Ho, Mae-Wan. "The Human Genome Sellout." Third World Resurgence Nov/Dec 2000: 123-124. SIRS Issue Researcher.
"How Personalized Will Medicine Get?" TED Radio Hour 13 September 2013. SIRS Issue Researchers.
Katsioloudis, Petros J. "Biomedical Technology: Supporting Movement." Technology Teacher 68.5 2009: 10-15. Academic Search Premier.
Marchione, Marilynn. "Doctors Save Ohio Boy by 'Printing' an Airway Tube." Cincinnate Enquirer 23 May 2013. SIRS Issue Researcher.
Saslow, Rachel. "Now in 3-D: Your Next Breast Scan." Washington Post 9 October 2012: E1. SIRS Issue Researcher.
Staff, Proquest. "At Issue: Biomedical Technology." Proquest 2014. SIRS Issues Researcher.
—. "At Issue: Genetic Engineering." ProQuest 2014. SIRS Issues Researcher.
Staff, ProQuest. "Bioethics Timeline." Leading Issues Timelines 2014. SIRS Issue Researcher .
"Tisssue Engineering Shows its Muscles." Todays Science August 2005. Infobase Learning.
Weaver, Christopher. "Patients Put at Risk by Computer Viruses." Wall Street Journal 14 June 2013: A1. SIRS Issue Researcher.

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