Among the various streams of science and medicine that have evolved with time, stem cell research and genetic medicine have risen as top contenders for various path-breaking discoveries. The treatment of more than 1,800 known monogenic hereditary disorders today, depends on the development of genetic medicines coupled with advanced stem cell research.
The field of genetic medicine comprises many areas, including the clinical practice of physicians, genetic counsellors and nutritionists, clinical diagnostic laboratory activities, and research into the causes and inheritance of genetic disorders. Simply put, it incorporates areas such as gene therapy, personalised medicine, and the rapidly emerging new medical speciality, including predictive medicine.
Stem cell therapy
Stem cells are basically adaptable and versatile cells in one’s body that are capable of complex actions, unlike conventional medication. These cells exist both in embryos and adult cells and can differentiate into any cell of an organism with the ability of self-renewal. Stem cell therapy uses these cells to treat or prevent a disease or condition. Also known as regenerative medicine, it promotes the repair response of diseased, dysfunctional or injured tissue using stem cells or their derivatives.
Amid a prevailing global healthcare crisis, stem cell research and genetic medicine have given us hope. The former was — and continues to be — an integral part of research conducted to treat COVID-19 symptoms, and genome sequencing has been extensively employed globally to analyse mutations and variations of the virus. In the coming years, the industry is only expected to grow.
Also, there is a general misconception that only people with medical education can take up jobs in these fields. This is not completely true because students who have studied Biology, B.Sc. graduates with at least one subject of the Biological Sciences, MBBS, B.Pharma, B.D.S., B.V.Sc. or B.E. Biotechnology students are eligible too.
Possible career options include Clinical geneticist, Genetic Counsellor, Clinical Researcher, Research Scientist, Biochemical Diagnostics Professional, Biomedical Research Assistant, Biomedical Technician, Cancer Research Scientist, Biomedical Engineer, Molecular Genetics Professional, Laboratory Technician, and Laboratory Director.
The writer is Senior Medical Director - LifeCell.