To discover and develop new biotech therapies, some biotech companies are using the skills of rational drug design to research the advanced screening of chemical libraries. Other biotech companies are studying proteins, genes, cells and tissues – all made in living systems – to develop new biotech therapies.
Cancer: No Longer a Death Sentence
Biotechnology has helped scientists better understand the molecular and genetic basis of cancer, making the development of more effective cancer treatments possible. These treatments, along with other advances in diagnostics, have brought survival rates for all types of cancer up from 50 percent in 1977 to 69 percent in 2005.
Changing the Outlook for MS
In the U.S. alone, there are 250,000 to 300,000 patients living with multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. While scientists continue to search for a cure to MS, biotech-generated treatments like Ampyra® (Acorda) help improve patients’ walking ability by 25 percent, and Tysabri® (Biogen Idec and Elan) and Betaseron® (Bayer), help patients stay healthier longer.
Relief from Autoimmune Rheumatoid Disease
Autoimmune rheumatoid diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ankylosing spondylitis can severely restrict quality of life and worker productivity. Rheumatoid arthritis, for example, causes 66 percent of employed patients to miss work. These absences cost the economy $10.9 billion annually in lost productivity. Using new information about our genetic code, biotech scientists have produced more convenient medicines with fewer painful side effects for patients living with autoimmune rheumatoid disease. New biotech therapies such as Enbrel®, Humira®, Remicade® and Simponi® help patients live productive, healthier and longer lives.