Biological products and their uses
A biological product is a substance derived from a living organism and used for the prevention or treatment of disease. These products include antitoxins, bacterial and viral vaccines, blood products and hormone extracts. These products may be produced through biotechnology in a living system, such as a microorganism, plant cell or animal cell, and are often more difficult to characterize than small molecule drugs.
Through recombinant DNA technology it is possible to produce these biological products on demand. There are many types of biological products approved for use -they are, therapeutic proteins, monoclonal antibodies and vaccines. Health care and pharmaceutical industries have been revolutionised by biotechnological proteins. Hormones and antibodies are produced commercially, primarily for the medical industry. Recombinant hormones like Insulin, Human growth hormone, Recombinant vaccines and recombinant proteins like human alpha lactalbumin are available today.
Animals are used as bioreactors to produce desirable proteins. Antibodies are substances that react against the disease causing antigens and these can be produced using transgenic animals as bioreactors. Monoclonal antibodies, which are used to treat cancer, heart disease and transplant rejection are produced by this technology. Natural protein adhesives are non toxic, biodegradable and rarely trigger an immune response, hence could be used to reattach tendons and tissues, fill cavities in teeth, and repair broken bones.