About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

'Hen Factories' To Synthesize Cancer Drugs

Font : A-A+

'Hen Factories' To Synthesize Cancer Drugs

'Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.'
                      .........Dale Carnegie

A groundbreaking venture has been initiated by a group of researchers, whereby therapeutic proteins, essential in cancer-treatment, are mass-produced in the egg white of a certain breed of hen.


Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world. It is a group of diseases that is characterized by differences in their types and locations. There is however one feature that is common to all cancers and that is the burgeoning cells that arise as a result of abnormal division. The mechanism that controls cell division goes awry and tumor results. Several factors are implicated in the causation of cancer like, hereditary factors, free radical formation, UV rays, tobacco etc. However, due to the overwhelming research related to the field of cancer and due to accelerated drug review, the survival rate of patients with cancer has significantly increased.

The Roslin Institute near Edinburgh, Scotland, specializes in genetics and genomics of animals and holds a place of honor in scientific history for being the birthplace of Dolly, the first cloned sheep. In a novel research, scientists at the Roslin Institute have recently developed a way of pooling large amounts of medicinal proteins in the egg whites of hens. These researchers have succeeded in producing a type of antibody that is designed to help in the treatment of melanoma, a kind of skin cancer. Study is underway to produce three different proteins that are employed in cancer treatment.

In this joint venture between the Roslin Institute, the US Biotech firm, Viragen, and the British Biotech Company, Oxford BioMedica, five hundred ISA Browns, a popular breed of egg-laying hens, were genetically modified to produce complex therapeutic proteins in commercially viable quantities. The gene for the specific protein is injected into the hen's DNA, specifically into that part that controls the production of egg white. Some of these genetically- engineered transgenic hens produced eggs whose whites contained proteins like the monoclonal antibody, m1r24, used in the treatment of melanoma, while other hens were engineered to produce a type of human interferon that impairs viral replication. These proteins may then be extracted from the egg whites to be incorporated into the making of drugs.

Insulin-related proteins have been mass-produced in bacteria. Many therapeutic proteins, like monoclonal antibodies, are produced commercially in industrial bioreactors. This method is time-consuming, besides being expensive. The use of the avian biosystem as bioreactors for the production of human biopharmaceuticals is cheaper, faster, more efficient, besides the raw material required being just 'bird feed'. It is believed that the first production line of the chicken eggs is only a few years away.

Prior attempts of this nature resulted in the production of low levels of the required proteins to be of any practical use. The present technique using 'hen factories' is believed to enable the production of a larger volume of a wider array of drugs, particularly those much-in-demand cancer drugs, at costs that are agreeable to all concerned.

Source: Medindia

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
First-Ever Successful Pig-To-Human Kidney Transplantation
World Osteoporosis Day 2021 -
Spirituality and Mental Health
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Drug Toxicity Cancer and Homeopathy Cancer Facts Cancer Tattoos A Body Art Drugs Banned in India Common Lifestyle Habits that Cause Diseases Health Benefits of Dandelion Plant Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors for Cancer Treatment Non-Communicable Diseases 

Recommended Reading
Encyclopedia section of medindia gives general information about Leukemia...
Mesothelioma - Animation
Animation on mesothelioma - a form of lung cancer, that explains about the condition, its risk ......
Common Lifestyle Habits that Cause Diseases
Cigarette smoking, unhealthy diets, overuse of alcohol, and physical inactivity are some of the most...
Drug Toxicity
Drug toxicity is an adverse reaction of the body towards a drug that results as a side effect of a d...
Drugs Banned in India
Several drugs are either banned or withdrawn after introduction in the market....
Health Benefits of Dandelion Plant
What is dandelion? Dandelion greens are nutrition powerhouses with a wide range of health benefits. ...
Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors for Cancer Treatment
Immune checkpoint inhibitors are promising drugs to treat a variety of cancers and the FDA has appro...
Non-Communicable Diseases
Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are a group of chronic non-infectious diseases which include Cardio...
Tattoos A Body Art
Tattoos are a rage among college students who sport it for the ‘cool dude’ or ‘cool babe’ look...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use