Anyone who works in the biotechnology industry, whether it's here in British Columbia or elsewhere in the world, follows the news closely. Why? Because there are thousands of other companies working on making their own breakthroughs. You never know whether other researchers are going to stumble across something that helps you with your own research either. Some people also keep up with the biotechnology news because they're invested in finding a cure for some disease.
There are so many diseases now that affect the lives of people that there is hardly a person in the world who's life has not been touched by one disease or another. Perhaps you suffer from diabetes or have lost a grandparent to cancer. Maybe your child has asthma or you saw an outbreak of malaria while you were traveling. Whichever disease it is you've taken an interest in, chances are that someone somewhere in the world is looking for a cure for it.
Most of the research aspect of looking for a cure for a disease is handled by pharmaceutical companies and universities. These are the people with the facilities and expensive equipment to study and the wherewithal to hire the top experts in the field. Cures for diseases come in the form of medication, so it is chemists, medical doctors, lab technicians, and biologists that do most of the work on finding new chemical compounds and studying their effects on the disease.
Biotechnology companies and university departments also have their part to play in the search for ways to cope with and cure diseases. Technologists don't just design everyday technology. They also design new machines that can do more precise surgeries, more efficient sampling and testing machines, replacement limbs and organs for people already damaged by disease, and even tiny robots that can mimic the work of cells and substances in the body. In fact, biotechnology is frequently in the news for its technological breakthroughs.
In order to participate in these aspects of the search for a cure, you need to have upwards of four years of university training in a medical or technology field. But that doesn't mean you have to sit home and read about other people's efforts in the news. You can get involved with charities and foundations that collect money to be used in disease research. You see news of their activities in the paper all the time alongside news of the new advances in the research. If a foundation doesn't exist to provide funding for the disease you're concerned about, found your own charity.
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