Biomedical research focuses on using scientific knowledge to find the answers to medical questions. Using investigative techniques, information is gained about the biological processes of the human body, leading to information and improvements in medications and procedures. Biomedical research works to expand current scientific knowledge to prevent and cure illness or disease.
Biomedical research is not just one discipline. In order to achieve advances in medicine, individuals from life and physical sciences provide valuable input. Teams of biomedical researchers can include engineers, technicians, researchers, biologists, chemists, medical doctors, veterinarians and professionals across various disciplines all experimenting and researching to find solutions.
The base of biomedical research is the use of the scientific method to develop a theory and observe medical problems. Basic research functions as the foundation for additional scientific advancement, offering fundamental knowledge about how living organisms work. Applied research builds upon basic research to work towards addressing a specific medical concern, such as creating a new medical device or developing a medication to treat a specific illness.
Forms of biomedical research include:
- In vitro research to study tissue and organic material in the lab.
- Ex vivo research to study tissue in the lab cultivated outside the body.
- In vivo research studies the effects of an experiment on the organism and includes clinical trials.
- Pre-clinical trials involve the use of medical experiments using animals to test the effectiveness of a medicine or drug therapy.
- Clinical trials are typically only done after careful study, observation and research has been gathered. Clinical trials are performed on human volunteers in controlled medical settings.
Animals are used in biomedical research to test out new medications and to better understand the effects of an illness or disease on the body. Rodents are mainly used for animal testing, allowing scientists to easily control their environment and study the effects of a drug or disease through an entire life cycle. New advances in medicine have allowed scientist to genetically alter rodents to mimic various conditions in the human body so they can be better studied. Some Animal rights activists oppose the use of animals in biomedical research. Scientists, however, work to find alternatives to animal testing whenever possible and laws are in place to prevent animal cruelty.
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