KVIE Store  


Behind the Scenes


Produced by Jerry Blair

The growing crisis in healthcare costs has its genesis in part in the research and development of new and innovative medical technologies. Information technologies and biological entities are converging to search out new discoveries in genomics, therapeutic cloning and stem cell research; disciplines plowing new ground in ways to combat disease.

According to the California Healthcare Institute, Northern California has become "the global leader in biomedical technology." Driving much of that success is an apparent seamless cooperation between academic institutions, industry, governments and sources of investment. The north state has more than 800-biomedical companies generating upwards of 4.1 billion dollars in revenues, worldwide. More than 85,000 employees in the Bay Area, Sacramento and Santa Rosa make up the workforce. Bringing just one pharmaceutical to the public is an expensive and time-consuming proposition -- taking up to 13 years...and upwards of $800 million.

Large Scale Biology Corporation is a relatively small-scale company of 130 employees doing plant research to develop pharmaceuticals. They just cleared their first clinical trials on developing a drug to battle cancer. Ironically the plant of choice was tobacco -- often called the "white mouse" of plant research.

In the bioengineering labs of UC Davis, Katherine Ferrara is working to expand a technology that calls for the injection of bubbles smaller than a human hair into tiny arteries and tracking them with ultrasound. Using a high speed camera and a microscope they can actually document the reactions of the small spheres to ultrasonic bursts.

According to the University of California at Davis, there are upwards of 500 drug products and vaccines currently in human clinical trials and hundreds more in early development. They target scores of diseases ranging from cancer to Alzheimer's to AIDS and technologies and research techniques are developing at a rapid pace. Now that we have the tools that make the medicines to fight diseases, the dilemma remains over how to pay for them...


Martina McGloughlin
Dir., UC Systemwide Biotech Research

Robert Erwin
CEO, Large Scale Biology Corp.

Barry Holtz
Senior VP, Large Scale Biology Corp.

Katherine Ferrara
Chair, Biomedical Engineering, UC Davis


The complete text of New Valley Episode 107 -- The Heartbeat of Healthcare...


Presentation also made possible by a grant from
the Great Valley Center


New Valley Official Site