Pharmaceutical Products Presentation!

My partner Gina and I created a presentation of DNA technology and pharmaceutical products! We chose this topic because both of our parents have experience at Genentech, a company making great advancements in personalized medicine in oncology! We discussed how insulin is made, how personalized medicine works, and an ethical question regarding personalized medicine! Check out our powerpoint and the script google doc to follow along and leave your thoughts below!

Medical Applications: Pharmaceutical Products SCRIPT!!!

Pharmaceutical Products

  • The pharmaceutical industry is significantly benefitted by advances in DNA technology and genetic research. Advancements can be applied to the development of useful drugs.
  • Defined as the use of living things or parts by means of recombinant DNA technology in order to create or modify drugs
  • Products are created using organic chemistry or biotechnology
  • Biopharmaceutical = a biological macromolecule or cellular component used as a pharmaceutical.


  • Pharmaceutical companies are producing molecules made by recombinant DNA to treat various diseases
  • According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “a majority of therapeutic drugs in the current market are bioformulations, such as antibodies, nucleic acid products and vaccines”
  • insulin for diabetes
  • interferon for viral infections
    • Interferon = a group of signaling proteins made and released by host cells in response to the presence of several pathogens, such as viruses, bacteria, parasites, and also tumor cells
  • Production of human hormones and proteins with therapeutic uses
    • Turner’s syndrome
    • Premature babies
    • Enhanced weight loss
      • Obesity
    • Erectile dysfunction
  • Producing safer vaccines
    • Now being produced commercially from cloned genes

Example & DNA Technology

  • Recombinant DNA is a technology that makes it possible to insert a human gene into the genetic material of a common bacterium, thus the “recombinant” (re-combined) microorganism can now produce the protein coded by the human gene. Like with insulin!
  • People with diabetes have a problem with how their body produces or responds to insulin, therefore scientists use recombinant dna to produce insulin medicine for diabetics to take.
    • First the scientists build the human insulin gene in the lab and then they remove a loop of bacterial dna which is known as plasmid
    • Next they insert the human insulin gene into the plasmid and then researchers return the plasmid to the bacteria and put the recombinant bacteria into a large fermentation tank
    • Then the recombinant bacteria use the gene to produce human insulin which scientists then harvest from the bacteria and purify to make medicine for people

Recent Breakthrough

  • Oncology, which is the study and treatment of tumors and cancers, has become increasingly personalized at Genentech because medicine that works for one person, may not work for another!
  • Researchers at Genentech stated that the realization that human diseases and many cancers are heterogeneous, which means they result from different molecular drivers that fuel the disease, was the key driver
    • Two women with breast cancer whose disease looks similar under the microscope can have VERY different diseases at the molecular level and thus need different treatments
    • The more information they have, the better they can understand the role of different mutations in each disease, develop biomarkers and identify the right medicine for EACH patient
  • Many Biomarkers + multiple targeted medicines = endless combinations designed to treat many different types of cancer

Ethical Issues/Questions

  • The major concerns with pharmaceutical product biotechnology:
  • Affordability
    • For example
      • the current “EpiPen Scandal”
        • EpiPen is priced in the $600s but CVS will be stocking a generic Adrenaclick which come in a two-pack for $109.99
      • Personalized medicine
        • Very expensive, created with biologic material as opposed to synthetic material thus making the medicine more expensive
        • Only certain populations can afford this medicine as insurance companies who pay for the treatments will make the patient pay increasing amounts
        • Thus the question is created, should personalized medicine only be for those who can afford the treatment, or should the care be readily available to everyone in need. If so, at what cost?





Never Give up!

A dream that I have is to be successful and educated in the future, while working in a prestigious career, one I have not determined yet. At times I have doubted whether or not I have the endurance to continuously work hard and be dedicated to my field, and wonder if the busy and very important life of a stay at home mom would be better suited for me. But some of Diana’s encouraging quotes really stuck with me, one is as follows.

“How much life is there left?… What are we going to do? What are we going to do as we go forward to have no regrets looking back?”

I know that when I look back on my life, I want to be able to say that I was a powerful career woman. I do not think I would regret raising my family, but I would regret not seeing how far in life I could go if I worked towards a goal. Another quote of hers I really enjoyed was…

You have a dream and you have obstacles in front of you, as we all do. None of us ever get through this life without heartache, without turmoil,and if you believe and you have faith and you can get knocked down and get back up again and you believe in perseverance as a great human quality, you find your way”

I like this quote because the words remind me that every successful person I look up to has struggled at least once to get to their current spot, therefore I am encouraged to get back up when I am knocked down. I once heard that what makes great people great is not their talent alone, but their ability to get back up.

The last quote I enjoyed was…

when you reach for the horizon, as I’ve proven, you may not get there, but what a tremendous build of character and spirit that you lay down”

This last quote reminds me that sometimes you do not reach your goal, but at least you tried! We often invalidate the whole journey if we do not make it to the destination, but that is nuts! Even attempting to reach for your dream is an accomplishment within itself, so even if I do not make it to the horizon, I will be proud of myself for trying.

I highly recommend watching Diana Nyad’s TedTalk if you have any free time! The video is a little over 15 minutes of pure encouragement. Diana Nyad’s Ted Talk


1st Semester Final Review

Coming into AP Bio I was absolutely terrified. I was very concerned about how I was going to maintain a solid grade, keep up with the workload, and remain in love with the subject. While these are still very big concerns of mine, I have learned how to manage them! With the help of Mrs. Girard, my fellow classmates, hard work and some faith in God, I can gladly say I accomplished all three of these tasks!

I faced struggles with maintaining a solid grade, but I also had to come face to face with the acceptance that a B is not an awful grade. A “B” means I tried my hardest, need to learn from my mistakes and come back better next semester! B stands for better in my book and I cannot wait to prove that I can make this happen. Tied in with my grades was my struggle with remaining in love with the subject. Often, I would find that every time I did not perform as well as I would have liked on a test, I would get very down in the dumps and lose all faith thus making me not perform well on other work. An endless cycle of me bringing myself down. However, whenever we have presentations I always feel really confident because I am able to showcase that I do understand the information even if I do not portray it well over tests.

The work was not truly awful for me, just because Mrs. Girard never overloads us. The only times I would get worried was when I would procrastinate but that is what I get for doing that to myself! I enjoyed our work and never really felt like we were doing busy work! My favorite projects were the ones that involved me making a video because even though they are really hard to make, I always feel so proud after!

Speaking of videos, I have learned so many new technology skills I get so excited to showcase them! Like this blog! Creating a website to showcase all of our hard work in a fun and interactive way has been super cool and I can’t wait to continue!

All in all, yes I was rightfully nervous. This class is not a joke, I have to work very very hard, but that makes me appreciate everything in the end. I am so proud of everyone in this class and how far we have all come! I am forever amazed at the talent and intelligence of all these young women.