A New , Cheap Way to Produce Immune System Antibody

A New , Cheap Way to Produce Immune System Antibody to Treat Cancer and Viruses

When one or more of these genes or chromosomes are missing or mutated, or if extra chromosomes are present, the proteins may not get made, may be made incorrectly, or too many may be made. Any of these situations can cause abnormal development and growth and can result in a genetic syndrome. Sometimes these abnormal genes or chromosomes are passed down from a parent, and sometimes they occur spontaneously without reason. Each chromosome is made up of many genes, about 2,000 in each chromosome, for a total of 50,000 genes in each cell. These genes make all the proteins in the body, which promote development and growth, and carry out all body functions.


A genetic disorder is a disease that is caused by an abnormality in an individual's DNA. Abnormalities can range from :

  1. Single gene disorder :- These disorders result when a mutation causes the protein product of a single gene to be altered or missing.
  2. Chromosomal abnormalities :-In these disorders, entire chromosomes, or large segments of them, are missing, duplicated, or otherwise altered
  3. Multifactorial disorders :- result from mutations in multiple genes, often coupled with environmental causes.

Gene therapy carries the excitement of a cure-all for a host of diseases, the controversy surrounding the altering of human genes, and the promise of a type of medical treatment most of us would never imagine possible. With its potential to eliminate and prevent hereditary diseases such as cystic fibrosis and hemophilia and its use as a possible cure for heart disease, AIDS, and cancer, gene therapy is a potential medical miracle-worker.It involves modifying the genes in egg or sperm cells, which will then pass any genetic changes to future generations as well.

In medicine, one size doesn't fit all. Two people who take the same cancer medication, for instance, may have very different responses. One may have severe, even life-threatening side effects, while the other experiences few if any side effects and seems to sail through treatment. Or, the drug may shrink a tumor in one person but not in another.Drug resistance is also found in some tumor cells, which makes it more difficult to use chemotherapy to attack tumors made of those cells. Resistance to antiviral drugs also occurs in virus populations, notably HIV. When a drug is administered, those organisms which have a genetic resistance to the drug will survive and reproduce, and the new population will be drug-resistant .

Personalized medicine is known scientifically as pharmacogenomics or pharmacogenetics. Pharmacogenomics is the study of how inherited variations in an individual's genes affect how his or her body processes and responds to medications. Pharmacogenomics is a combination of pharmacology and genomics — drugs and genes.Medical genomics pinpoints the normal and abnormal functions of individual genes and uses the information to diagnose and treat diseases. In essence, it is medicine tailored to each individual. Medical genomics is already changing the face of medicine. Biotechnology uses technologies to capitalize on the attributes of cells and biological molecules, such as DNA and proteins. Biotechnology will improve our ability to customize therapies based on individual genes, prevent, diagnose, and treat all types of diseases rather than rely on rescue therapy, and provide breakthroughs in agricultural production and food safety.

A team at the British institute that cloned Dolly the sheep have made a genetically engineered chicken that produces cancer drugs in its eggs.
The chickens produce the cancer drugs in their egg whites, the team at the Roslin Biocentre in Edinburgh reported.

The drugs include a monoclonal antibody -- themselves lab-engineered immune system proteins -- and a human immune system protein used to treat cancer and other conditions, the researchers report in the upcoming issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

These drugs are not easy to make in the lab. "Many human therapeutic proteins, such as monoclonal antibodies, are produced in industrial bioreactors, but setting up such systems is both time-consuming and expensive," the researchers wrote.

Scientists have been trying to find good ways to turn animals into factories instead -- given that animals naturally make such proteins anyway.

Cattle, sheep and goats all have been genetically engineered to produce human proteins in their milk, including insulin and drugs to treat cystic fibrosis, but the Roslin team thought chickens, with their shorter life cycles and egg-laying prowess, also might be useful.

Helen Sang and colleagues at Roslin made the genetically engineered or transgenic hens by inserting the genes for the desired proteins into the hen's gene for ovalbumin, a protein that makes up half of egg whites.

They wanted to ensure the hens made the proteins in their egg whites and nowhere else.

The proteins they chose were miR24, a monoclonal antibody with potential for treating melanoma, and human interferon b-1a, an immune system protein from a family of proteins that attacks tumors and viruses.

They used a virus to infect very early chicken embryos. The virus inserted the genetic material into the DNA of chick embryos in newly laid eggs.

The researchers hatched these chicks and found the male chicks who had indeed incorporated the new DNA in their semen.

These cockerels were then bred with normal hens and they screened the resulting chicks to see which ones still carried the two new genes. The researchers have now bred several hundred chickens that can produce the desired proteins.

They worked with Viragen (Scotland) Ltd., a subsidiary of the U.S. biotechnology company Viragen and Oxford Biomedica Ltd.

Other companies have created animals and plants that produce human and animal proteins, as well as vaccines.

More than 325 million people worldwide have been helped by hundreds of biotechnology drugs and vaccines. Of the biotech medicines on the market, 70 percent were approved by the FDA in the last six years. There are more than 370 biotech drug products and vaccines currently in clinical trials targeting more than 200 diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, AIDS and arthritis. Biotechnology is responsible for hundreds of medical diagnostic tests that keep the blood supply safe from the AIDS virus and detect other conditions early enough to be treated successfully.

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