The NAE Grand Challenge is engineering better medicines. In the first source by Bottinger (2007) the source identified the problem as being unable to prevent disease or mitigate symptoms until they appeared. It proposed that the solution be the use of molecular markers as a signal for identifying the existence or risk of a disease prior to the symptoms appearing. The methods were genetic and molecular patterns located via quantitative research which were correlated to disease manifestations as well as treatment, drug responses, and predisposition for future diseases. The source determined that there is yet proof enough to use personalized medicines in the proposed solution because of economic, social, legal, and ethical implications which need to be addressed in future work. The information presented (Bottinger, 2007, p. 15) highlights the broad potential for a new healthcare strategy which is focused on the prevention and early detection of diseases which could be used to reduce the severity of stop symptoms altogether.
In the second source by Heymann (2006) the source identified the problem as the increasing resistance to anti-infective drugs which was now a matter of urgent public health. The source proposed that prudent use of drugs in tandem with prudent oversight of drug use in agriculture, animal husbandry, and aquaculture must be reviewed. The source stated that almost all microbes which cause serious infections in humans, for which anti-infective drugs have already been produced, have now developed some resistance to the drugs and the rate at which this is happening is higher than predicted.
The source reviewed that anti-infective drugs have rapidly evolved and now their resistance has taken place sooner than anticipated. The source reviewed the impact this has on humans and our evolution, as well as the indiscriminate use of antibiotics and drugs in aquaculture, agriculture, and animal husbandry. The source concluded that the best solution to this resistance was the prevention of infection by continuing research and development into vaccines and administering vaccinations. The effective use of vaccines must be used in tandem with the conservation of existing drugs, increased research and development into vaccines, and research and development into new anti-infective drugs.
Overall, engineers are working to asses new drugs and create vaccinations for the body based on genetic information so as to cultivate more specific and personalized treatments for individual needs rather than standardized treatments. As of late, the regular use of prescription drugs in tandem with the high prevalence of antibiotics inside of food products and household products has led to drug-resistant strains of diseases that people have previously overcome. That has now resulted in a high percentage of otherwise internationally recognized and utilized drugs becoming useless. Regular anti-infective drugs that we currently have are now rendered ineffective against drug-resistant pathogens. This requires the engineering of new strategies for mitigating this growth of drug resistance.
- David L. Heymann, “Resistance to Anti-Infective Drugs and the Threat to Public
Health,” Cell 124 (February 24, 2006), pp. 671-675. DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2006.02.009.
- Erwin P. Bottinger, “Foundations, Promises, and Uncertainties of Personalized
Medicine,” Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine 74 (2007), pp. 15-21.
- Gerard D. Wright and Arlene D. Sutherland, “New strategies for combatingmultidrug-resistant
bacteria,” Trends in Molecular Medicine 13 (2007), pp. 260-267. doi:10.1016/j.molmed.2007.04.004.
- L.J. Lesko, “Personalized Medicine: Elusive Dream or Imminent Reality?” Clinical
Pharmacology & Therapeutics 81 (June 2007), pp. 807-816.