Rights: The University of Waikato Published 16 November 2007 Download

New Zealand biotechnology is a developing, world-class industry. Find out more about the exciting work being done, and the diversity of different projects in this first of a 4-part series produced by NZBio. A full copy of the DVD is available by emailing enquiries@nzbio.org.nz.

This clip was produced in conjunction with NZBio.

Transcript

Narrator: Of all of the fields of science that have helped us learn more about ourselves and our environment over the last century, biotechnology has provided some of the most valuable and far-reaching knowledge.

Brian Ward (NZBio) Biotechnology is very much about applications, so what biotechnology will deliver is better healthcare, improved foods, better and safer agriculture, lower environmental risk, cleaner industrial processing. So there are a whole lot of technologies that will be beneficial to everyone within the community.

Narrator: The emerging field of genomics, or understanding all the functions and interactions of our genes, will lead to new medicines, more specific diagnosis, and greater understanding of our predisposition to disease. New therapies based on a deeper awareness of human biology are already improving patient outcomes and will lead to safer and more effective treatments for disease such as cancerheart disease and diabetes.

For example, a compound developed by the Auckland bio-pharmaceutical company, Protemix, has shown promise for treating diabetic heart failure. This condition is the leading cause of death in patients with diabetes, and affects over three million people world-wide.

New Zealand biotechnologists are also contributing to the global fight against AIDS, by providing the building blocks for a gel that may prevent HIV infection

Richard Furneaux (Industrial Research Ltd.) It’s addressing the issue of AIDS, the spread of AIDS in third world and first world countries, and providing a tool that women can use to protect themselves during sexual intercourse from getting the AIDS virus. So it’s a preventative measure that really isn’t in existence now. There is no other thing that you could use to do that, and so it’s really tremendous to think that we can contribute to a major initiative.