Biologics are the products that have been created from living organisms, such as bacteria, viruses, and other organic living things. A biological pharmaceutical, also called a biotechnological product, is any generic pharmaceutical product developed from, extracted from, or produced by living organisms. It may also be used to describe any medical or health products that contain living matter as an ingredient, such as blood, human cells, tissues, organs, and vaccines.
There are four major types of biologics that have emerged over the past few decades. These include systemic enzymes, inhibitors, immune modulators, and pro-inflammatory. Systemic enzymes such as doxycycline are used to fight the infection that causes diarrhea. Inhibitors are used to stop certain functions of immune cells, such as those involved with fighting inflammation. And, lastly, anti-inflammatories are used to reduce or eliminate swelling caused by allergies, such as Lupus and asthma.
The first class of biologics to emerge was systemic enzymes and inhibitors. Systemic enzymes such as doxycycline are designed to destroy only Gram positive bacteria, whereas inhibitors only kill Gram negative bacteria. In recent years, newer drugs have been developed that can kill all bacteria, including those that are not gram positive. Another class of biologics is anti-inflammatories. To treat certain forms of arthritis, doctors typically inject immune modulators into joints to allow them to fight off the inflammation that is associated with these diseases. Although these drugs are effective, they can be toxic to some cells. Also, there is a chance that the immune modulator could cause a negative reaction, which may be fatal. As a result, many doctors are turning to biologics in this area.
Other types of biologics to treat arthritis include immunomodulators, which block the chemicals and antibodies that cause inflammation. A similar approach is used in chemotherapy where a particular drug is introduced into the body either by a pill or an injection. Once in the system, the drugs cause the body to make more antibodies to attack the foreign substance. While this approach has fewer side effects than the methods used in chemotherapy, it is not without its own drawbacks.
Biologics are produced using living cells as opposed to non-living ones. The most common type of biologics made using living cells is derived from living tissues. In general, biologics made using living tissues have more safety and, in some instances, lead to more cures for diseases. However, biologists made using animals or cell cultures have been in use longer than those made using living cells, and the effect of these cells' exposure to toxic agents has been shown to cause certain cancers.
Biologics using living cells as their source of protein are currently being tested in clinical trials. The most common of these biologics being tested is called humor. Humira is being developed to treat inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and Lupus. Pharmaceutical companies are currently looking at ways to produce vaccines and treatments from living cells.
Humira is a bio-active gel that is being developed as an immune system boost. When taken with the first dose of a tetanus or malaria vaccine, the gel will help to create a more powerful immune response by boosting the immune system's ability to fight against harmful bacteria. Clinical trials using other bio-active gels are also being conducted. This gel is being developed to work specifically with vaccines. This gel is being developed to be used in the place of monoclonal antibody injections in childhood vaccinations.