Scientists at the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh have genetically modified chickens to produce proteins that can fight cancer. Researchers believe that this method can help develop an economical way to produce drugs in the future. ( Emir Krasnić | Pixabay )
Scientists are able to use the simple purification method to extract large amounts of protein without harmful effects on the chicken that lays eggs normally.
The study was mainly focused on producing high quality proteins for scientific experiments. However, the results reveal that there is sufficient evidence to use chickens as a low-cost method to produce efficient anticancer drugs that can be used for research and possibly for patients in the future.
Anti-Viral and Anti-Cancer Drugs
"We are not yet producing medicines for people, but this study shows that chickens are commercially viable for the production of proteins suitable for drug discovery studies and other applications in biotechnology," said Professor Helen Sang.
Researchers explain that eggs are already being used to grow viruses that are applied as vaccines.
However, in this case, the scientists encode the DNA of the chicken with a human protein, IFNalpha2a, as part of the egg white. This protein has powerful anti-cancer and anti-viral effects
Human, Research and Animal Health
According to Dr. Lissa Herron, head of the avian biopharmaceutical business unit at Roslin Technologies, the team is excited to cultivate this technology not only for human application in the future but also in other areas such as animal health and scientific research.
Dr. Ceri Lyn-Adams, director of scientific strategy at the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, explained that the latest findings of the study provide reasonable evidence for imminent drug innovation and the possibility of developing drugs based on proteins and more cost-conscious.
The researchers also added that only three eggs were able to produce enough for the drug. Because chickens can deposit up to 300 eggs per year, their approach will be able to develop important medicines at a reasonable cost compared to conventional methods of production.
For the time being, the medicines are not produced for human consumption. However, the study provides enough evidence for a robust system that is capable of being reformed to develop other corrective proteins.
The study was published in BMC Biotechnology.
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