When the outcome goes well, it’s easy to see why medicine seems miraculous. The doctor makes a suggestion or performs a procedure, and all is well. But of course, there is a good deal more involved in modern medicine than luck or guesswork. Often the efforts of a whole “behind the scenes” team of people is responsible for healing you, people the patient will never meet, or most likely ever be aware of. Chief among these is the radiologist, the physician whose peering into the inner workings of the body leads to the diagnosis that gets treatment started. Because of the necessity of this position in clinical medicine, radiology is an expanding field, with radiologists much in demand. As a result, getting a bachelor’s degree in radiology is a great way to go about an education, especially as medical imaging technology continues to grow. Another “hot” medical field is pharmacology, or the study of the interaction between living organisms and chemicals (that contain medicinal properties). Breakthroughs ranging from penicillin to antiretroviral medicines for HIV are a couple of famous examples of work in the pharmacology field, with more right around the corner. What are some recent developments that have watchers excited?
QuSomes is a drug delivery system that makes the dispensing of insoluble drugs much safer and more effective at lower doses. Medical experts are predicting fewer toxic accidents and fewer side effects for patients as a result. Costs for this type of drug are expected to go down as well.
While clinical treatments for humans have not yet been approved, a treatment has been developed and successfully treated on non-human primates that “teaches” body cells to generate their own medications. Science watchers say that this treatment may not only lead to more successful medicating, but to the discovery and treatment of yet undiscovered diseases.
Diseases Treating Diseases
The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the use of a modified polio virus for treating a lethal and stubborn form of brain cancer. Not only did a number of patients receiving this medication in clinical trials live five months longer than anticipated, three of the trial participants were declared cancer free at the study’s conclusion.
The pharmaceutical industry is one with its ups and downs, lots of competition, and more than a fair amount of competition. But it’s also one that has made some remarkable breakthroughs in the last several decades concerning cancer, AIDS, and dementia. So for those interested in careers involving biology and chemistry, and not unlike radiology examining the inner workings of the body, pharmacology may well be worth making an educational investment in.