Everyday biotechnology is shaping our lives. At its most basic level biotechnology involves the use of biological organisms, systems, or processes to develop technologies and products to improve the quality of life. Nowhere is this more apparent than in healthcare, where biotechnology has opened up new avenues to diagnose and treat disease. This website provides a curated collection of resources about the people, places and technologies that have enabled biotechnology to transform our healthcare and the world we live in today.
Read how restriction enzymes and plasmids contributed to the emergence of recombinant DNA and how today plasmids are being explored for the development of DNA vaccines against diseases like the Ebola virus, bird flu and multiple sclerosis.
New Science section launched. We are pleased to announce a new part of this site focusing on the sciences that have driven the rise of the biotechnology industry including recombinant DNA, stem cells, phage display, PCR and monoclonal antibodies. Click here to visit the Science section.
We are pleased to announce the addition to the section exploring the lives and works of the people whose efforts have helped build biotechnology of profiles of the Chinese biotechnologist Ray Wu and the English biochemist Fred Sanger, two pioneers of DNA sequencing which laid the foundation for the Human Genome Project. Click here to visit the People section.
A third of all new medicines introduced into the world today are monoclonal antibodies, many of which go on to become blockbuster drugs. This exhibition is the story of how one one specific monoclonal antibody drug, alemtuzumab (marketed as Campath, MabCampath, Campath 1H and Lemtrada), moved from the laboratory bench through to the clinic and the impact it has had on patients' lives. Just one of many hundreds of monoclonal antibodies, alemtuzumab started life in 1979 not as a drug but as a laboratory tool for understanding the immune system. Within a short time, however, it was being used to improve the success of bone marrow transplants and as a treatment for leukaemia, lymphoma, vasculitis, organ transplants and multiple sclerosis. Highlighting the many twists and turns that alemtuzumab took over time, this exhibition explores the multitude of actors and events involved in the making of a biotechnology drug. Click here to view the exhibition.
Today monoclonal antibodies are indispensable to medicine. They are not only used as therapeutics, comprising six out of ten of the best selling drugs in the world, but are also critical to unravelling the pathways of disease and integral components of diagnostic tests. Yet, the story of how these unsung microscopic heroes came into the world and helped change healthcare remains largely untold. The journey of monoclonal antibodies all started when an Argentinian émigré called César Milstein arrived at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, the same laboratory where Watson and Crick discovered the structure of DNA. This exhibition tells the story of how Milstein came to develop monoclonal antibodies and demonstrated their clinical application for the first time. Click here to view the exhibition.
Exploring the lives and works of the leading people from across the world like James Watson (pictured) whose efforts have helped build biotechnology into a world changing science.
James Watson (Born:1928) Together with Francis Crick, Watson was co-discoverer of the double-helix structure of DNA. This they accomplished with the help of earlier research by Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins. Click here to learn more about James Watson or click here to browse all the people.
Exploring the places and institutions, and people working in them, across the world like Basel Institute of Immunology (pictured) where the science of biotechnology has been developed.
A leading centre for immunological research from 1971 to 2000, the Basel Institute of Immunology helped lay the groundwork for the development of monoclonal antibodies. Click here to learn more about Basel Institute of Immunology or click here to browse all the places.
An ever-growing list of events, currently 417 events, that have contributed to the growth of biotechnology. Click here to browse the timeline.
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