What is Biotechnology?

What is Biotechnology?

First used by agronomic engineer Karl Ereky in 1919, the term "biotechnology" presently encompasses countless ways of using nature to devise new and innovative methods of solving problems - precisely what Piauhy Labs seeks to do every day, by finding new ways to use medicinal cannabis for the benefit of its patients. But how exactly is this area of biology characterized?

Simply put, biotechnology is the use of living organisms derived from nature to develop products. Fermented drinks, for example, are products whose manufacturing process falls within the concept of biotechnology. Such more traditional processes use living organisms in their natural form, whereas more modern forms of biotechnology will usually involve more advanced modification of the system or organism in question.

As the years have progressed and scientific discoveries have been made, biotechnology now encompasses more and more areas of research and is used in a wide variety of industries. Today, biotechnology can intersect with medicine, agriculture, environmental protection, or even maritime exploration. The discovery of the genetic make-up of living beings, DNA, has allowed even more applications, through the identification and genetic modification of organisms.
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Medical Biotechnology - Red Biotechnology

Medical biotechnology is the process of using living organisms to advance healthcare and help fight disease. It is a branch of modern biotechnology that is used in the field of medicine and pharmaceuticals to better the quality of life of patients.

Most medicines produced using biotechnology focus on protein synthesis, which occurs in the organisms of all living beings, starting from their DNA. Protein synthesis is a process that consists of the transcription and translation of the genetic information contained in the DNA molecules of our cells. During transcription, the original DNA code for a specific protein is rewritten into a molecule called messenger RNA (mRNA).
Then, during translation, a cellular structure called a ribosome attaches itself to a strand of mRNA. This mRNA has building blocks, nucleotides, similar to those in DNA. Each successive cluster of three nucleotides forms a codon, a 'code', for one of 20 different amino acids - the building blocks of proteins. Other molecules, called transfer RNA (tRNA), assemble a chain of amino acids that matches the sequence of codons described in mRNA. The longer chains of amino acids, called polypeptides, form proteins, which are essential for all kinds of biological processes in the human body, and have numerous purposes.
Because they are so important for the regulation of our body, today we are able to identify which of these proteins will have an impact on the treatment of certain diseases that affect human beings and produce medicines derived from them. How? Through biotechnology, it is possible to identify the specific gene that produces the desired protein, produce the cell line that contains that gene, and culture large numbers of these cells in order to isolate and purify the protein, so that it can be used in medicines.

The rise of personalized medicine

With the emergence of these new forms of treatment, genetic testing is becoming increasingly important and may help to determine the most effective solution to combat a particular disease or regarding a particular patient, based on their individual genetic make-up and possible variations, in order to ensure maximum effectiveness with minimum side effects. These types of approaches to medical treatment provide the emergence of so-called 'personalized medicine', in which drugs and drug combinations are optimized for each individual's unique genetic make-up.
It is also thanks to the use of genetic testing that it has now become possible to get a better insight into the endocannabinoid system, which is involved in numerous bodily functions and whose main purpose is to maintain homeostasis, meaning the body’s balance, and which is also responsible for the synthesis of cannabinoids, thanks to its receptors. By having access to the composition of a given individual's endocannabinoid system, we can use this information to identify which specific cannabinoids may be beneficial for each individual.

Piauhy Labs aims to excel in this new branch of medicine by tailoring each of its products to the specific genetic make-up of its patients, adjusting the levels of THC, CBD and other components of the Cannabis plant to the specific needs of each individual, providing a more personalized treatment.

Agricultural Biotechnology - Green Biotechnology

Agricultural biotechnology encompasses a range of modern plant breeding and synthesizing techniques, with the aim of improving the plant in more specific ways. The best known technique is genetic modification, in which certain genes of the plant are modified in order to allow it to have new properties, such as greater resistance, a better nutritional profile, or a higher percentage of actives. Additionally, the term agricultural biotechnology covers techniques such as Marker-Assisted Selection, which increases the efficiency of conventional breeding by identifying 'markers' that attribute a particular quality to the plant, which may be more or less desirable in the breeding process, depending on the specific goal of the crop.
Whatever the specific technology used, these types of crops could be used in the production of food, energy, or in plants grown for therapeutic purposes, by identifying which properties are most desirable in combating different types of diseases, and evaluating their effectiveness.
At Piauhy Labs, through studies done to identify potential substances originating from the Cannabis sativa plant and the extraction and synthesization of these components, we are seeking new ways of treating diseases such as epilepsy, Alzheimer's and autism, using biotechnology techniques such as biosynthesis and analytical chemistry, with the aim of getting to know the Cannabis plant, and its therapeutic properties and purposes, as much as possible.