Medical research is any scientific research conducted with the goal of improving the science of healthcare, knowledge of the human body, or knowledge of diseases.
While a basic knowledge of useful herbs and folk remedies has existed for thousands of years, medicine seldom went beyond that until the time of Hippocrates, and later, Galen, who first asked questions of why folk remedies worked. These men, and men like them, conducted autopsies and formed theories (often wrong) on the way the human body worked.
The first great breakthrough in medical knowledge in modern times came from the research of Edward Jenner, the inventor of the vaccine. By injecting people with small amounts of boiled cowpox disease, he discovered they became immune to smallpox. As a result of his work, one of the most virulent and deadly diseases to scourge mankind now exists only in two small vials in biology research labs.
Another great breakthrough came with Louis Pasteur and his process known as Pasteurization, by which milk and other dairy products could be purged of harmful diseases and kept for longer periods of time without spoiling. Pasteurization led to a revolution in food preparation and general hygiene. Pasteur also demonstrated the impossibility of spontaneous generation, and was one of the first to prove that microogranisms called germs caused many diseases.
Robert Koch also contributed to germ theory, isolating tuberculosis and investigating that disease. While germ theory allowed preventitive care in the form of avoiding germs and preventing pollution of water supplies, little was known about how to fight an infection already present in the body until Alexander Flemming discovered penicillin, one of the first antibiotics.
animal testing is necessary
clinical trials, inc. double-blind methods
gov funding stymies research free market encourages
"Government-funded basic research in medical science deserves some credit for breakthroughs, but it’s worth remembering that lots of countries invest in basic research. America, with its markets, stands alone as the leading, arguably sole, source of medical innovation. Breakthrough drugs are as American as apple pie." 
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