Manufacturing in life science laboratories produces a wide range of products used in research, diagnostics, and therapeutics. The variety of products manufactured by these labs is vast and can be divided into several categories.
This is probably the best-known type of product manufactured by life science labs and includes medications such as pills, creams, ointments, drops, etc., that are used to treat various medical conditions. Most therapeutics are based on chemical compounds, but biologics (i.e., products derived from living organisms) are becoming increasingly common due to their effectiveness in treating certain diseases.
Lab tests that help physicians determine the cause of a patient’s symptoms and recommend a treatment plan fall under this category. Examples of common lab tests performed to diagnose diseases include blood tests, urine tests, stool samples, chest X-rays, CT scans, endoscopies, and MRIs.
Such products include artificial joints and heart valves made from synthetic materials and instruments used by clinicians, such as syringes, catheters, and surgical tools. Another common type of medical device is the pacemaker – a battery-operated device that sends electrical impulses to the heart to regulate its rhythm – which has saved countless lives.
These products are produced using organisms or components, including vaccines, blood plasma products, and somatic cells. For example, human insulin used to treat diabetes is a biological product made from either animal or synthetic sources.
Cancer therapies are the most sought-after cell-based products since they can help destroy cancer cells without harming healthy ones. The ability of these types of products to target only malignant cells while sparing normal cells is called tumor specificity and makes them ideal for treating certain types of cancers that defy conventional treatments like chemotherapy or radiation therapy. For example, monoclonal antibodies that attach to specific proteins on cancerous white blood cells allow some forms of cancer to be treated with fewer side effects than other methods.
Another new development in life science laboratories such as Cedarlane Labs is gene therapy which involves inserting normal human genes into diseased body cells. The result treats diseases caused by genetic abnormalities such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, and hemophilia. This type of therapy is still in its early stages of development, but the potential it holds for curing a wide range of genetic diseases is very promising.
The use of cells and other biomaterials to build new tissues or organs in a lab is tissue engineering. This emerging technology has already been used to create artificial skin, cartilage, bone, and heart valves that can be used to replace damaged or diseased tissue in humans. While still in its infancy, tissue engineering shows great promise for treating a wide range of medical conditions in the future.
Life science laboratories produce various products that help improve human health in various ways. The types of products described above are just a small sampling of the kinds of things that labs are currently working on. With continued advances in technology and research, the sky is the limit for what these establishments can achieve to improve human health.