Taipei-Antibody and small molecule drugs and big data applications will remain at the center of biomedical research in the future, according to Andrew Wang, president-elect of the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB).
Wang was speaking on the future development of biomedical technology in a recent interview with CNA, in which he encouraged local scientists to find the right directions if they decide to devote themselves to antibody drug research and development.
Biomedicine is an emerging sector that has attracted many scientists around the world, said the chemist, who serves as the distinguished visiting chair of the Institute of Biological Chemistry at Academia Sinica, Taiwan's top academic research institution.
Wang also encouraged researchers to seek new techniques, citing the example of French scientist Emmanuelle Charpentier and Americans Jennifer A. Doudna and Feng Zhang, the trio who shared the 2016 Tang Prize for biopharmaceutical science.
They were honored for the development of the CRISPR/Cas9, a genome editing tool that enables geneticists and medical researchers to edit DNA, using a technique that has the potential for a wide range of applications, according to the Tang Prize Foundation.
Wang praised the CRISPR/Cas9 as a big breakthrough, and he expected it to significantly affect future research, which he said could even reach the aspect of biological transformation.
"In the future, cell therapies will become very important," Wang said.
In addition to antibody and small molecule drug research, changes in medical treatment methods are a direction that local scientists can also turn to, Wang said, noting that the results of big data analysis related to health insurance practices can be applied in the precision medicine sector.
The Tang Prize awards were established by Taiwanese entrepreneur Samuel Yin in 2012 to honor people who have made significant contributions in the fields of sustainable development, biopharmaceutical science, sinology and rule of law. They are dubbed as the "Asian Nobel Prize."
The IUBMB is an international non-governmental organization concerned with biochemistry and molecular biology. Founded in 1955, it unites biochemists and molecular biologists in 75 countries that belong to the union as an adhering body or associate adhering body represented by a biochemical society, a national research council or an academy of sciences.
Source: Overseas Community Affairs Council