Im­por­tance of bio­med­i­cal sci­ence

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - STAR SPECIAL HIGHER EDUCATION -

What do the first suc­cess­ful heart trans­plant, first syn­thetic gene, ar­ti­fi­cial hip re­place­ment and vi­ta­min sup­ple­ment have in com­mon?

they are all life-chang­ing med­i­cal break­throughs that have been dis­cov­ered and de­vel­oped as a re­sult of bio­med­i­cal sci­ence.

It is thanks to bio­med­i­cal sci­ence that mys­ter­ies of the hu­man body are solved and cures to hu­man dis­ease are dis­cov­ered.

It is the back­bone of med­i­cal ad­vance­ment, but some­times de­spite its im­por­tance, un­der­stand­ing of the true sig­nif­i­cance of bio­med­i­cal sci­ence is limited.

Bio­med­i­cal sci­ence has a long his­tory.

In 1538, an­dreas Ve­sal­ius took a bold but game-chang­ing step to dis­sect a hu­man body and dis­cov­ered hu­man anatomy, blood and the ner­vous sys­tem.

Wil­liam har­vey in 1628 dis­cov­ered blood circulation and the heart as the or­gan re­spon­si­ble for pump­ing the blood.

In the 1840s, sci­en­tists dis­cov­ered that chem­i­cals can be used as anaes­thet­ics, mak­ing it pos­si­ble to per­form surgery with­out pain. In 1895, X-rays were in­vented. In 1920, peni­cillin was dis­cov­ered.

Many do not re­alise the role uni­ver­si­ties played in this.

they have a sig­nif­i­cant part in con­duct­ing re­search that has led to these dis­cov­er­ies.

Un­der­stand­ing health through med­i­cal re­search has been a key en­deav­our of New­cas­tle Univer­sity since 1834.

Its renowned bio­med­i­cal re­search strengths have rev­o­lu­tionised the treat­ment of dis­ease and health care.

In fact, it is the first in­sti­tu­tion in Bri­tain to be given per­mis­sion to pur­sue stem-cell re­search.

this year alone, re­searchers at the univer­sity have made sev­eral sig­nif­i­cant break­throughs.

In March, they dis­cov­ered that people born with a rare chro­mo­so­mal ab­nor­mal­ity have a 2,700fold in­creased risk of de­vel­op­ing a rare form of child­hood cancer, called acute lym­phoblas­tic leukaemia.

Sci­en­tists say the find­ing could re­sult in bet­ter treat­ment for other types of cancer, as the ab­nor­mal­i­ties are more com­mon in some types of the ill­ness.

In the same month, an­other group of bio­med­i­cal sci­en­tists made a unique dis­cov­ery that could help in the fight against obe­sity.

they found that seaweeds are most ef­fec­tive at pre­vent­ing us from ab­sorb­ing fat. Its po­ten­tial as a food sup­ple­ment is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.

Last month, sci­en­tists were able to re­store the abil­ity to grasp with a paral­ysed hand us­ing spinal cord stim­u­la­tion for the first time.

the dis­cov­ery opens up the pos­si­bil­ity of new treat­ments within the next few years which could help stroke vic­tims or those with spinal cord in­juries re­gain some move­ment in their arms and hands.

New­cas­tle Univer­sity Medicine Malaysia (NUMed) chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer and Provost Pro­fes­sor Reg Jordan said: “Mod­ern medicine is con­stantly evolv­ing and the role of bio­med­i­cal sci­ence is cru­cial.

“In Malaysia, it is more ex­cit­ing than ever to be in the field of bio­med­i­cal sci­ence be­cause it is an im­por­tant part of the coun­try’s growth into a global health care player and a biotech gi­ant.”

this is just one of the rea­sons that NUMed in­tro­duced its Bio­med­i­cal Sci­ences (BSc) pro­gramme last year at its state-of-the-art cam­pus in Nusa­jaya.

the course mir­rors the highly suc­cess­ful pro­gramme of­fered at the Fac­ulty of Med­i­cal Sci­ences, New­cas­tle Univer­sity, Bri­tain.

In fact, it is split into two parts, the first com­pris­ing two aca­demic years at the NUMed cam­pus, and the sec­ond com­pris­ing a year-long in­ten­sive re­search project in the New­cas­tle Univer­sity Med­i­cal School in Bri­tain.

For de­tails, look out for the Bri­tish Coun­cil’s advertisement on NUMed in this StarSpe­cial.

First-year stu­dents of the Bio­med­i­cal Sci­ences (BSc) pro­gramme in NUMed.

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