From new vaccines to CAR-T immunotherapy and the use of gene therapy, biotechnology is already an integral part of healthcare. Its applications are both numerous and constantly evolving. Ghent University Hospital (UZ Gent) is one of the leading biotech institutes in Belgium. On the 12th of November, Living Tomorrow and Ghent University provided an overview of the current situation and a glimpse of the future at the symposium ‘Biotechnology: Cutting-edge healthcare applications for today and tomorrow’.
Biotechnology is technology based on biology. It uses animals, plants, bacteria and other living things to develop medicines, foods or new materials. Biotechnology has successfully modified the DNA of living things to enhance their characteristics. There are over 250 biotechnological medicines and vaccines available to patients. Many of these target diseases that were previously untreatable. Scientific researchers make frequent use of biotechnology.
During the symposium, researchers and doctors from Ghent University, UZ Gent, the University of Liège, IMEC, Cannovex, VIB and Novartis explained the latest biotechnology applications. There was also room to discuss the ethical and legal issues that go hand-in-hand with biotechnological research and its applications.
In addition to the presentations, there was an opportunity for lively debates with the speakers, under the guidance of the moderator-organisers Prof. Catherine Van Der Straeten (Health Innovation and Research Institute (Ghent University Hospital) and Prof. Tessa Kerre (haematologist at Ghent University Hospital).