Scientists are able to use simple purification method to extract high quantities of protein with no harmful effects on the chicken that lay eggs normally.
The study was primarily focused on producing high-quality proteins for scientific experiments. However, the findings reveal that there is enough evidence to use chickens as a cost-effective method to produce efficient anti-cancer drugs that can be used for research and possibly on 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 producing 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 chicken's DNA with a human protein, IFNalpha2a, as part of the egg white. This protein has powerful anti-cancer and anti-viral effects
Humans, Research, And Animal Health
According to Dr Lissa Herron, head of the avian biopharming business unit at Roslin Technologies, the team is excited to cultivate this technology for not just human application in the future but also in other areas such as animal health and scientific research.
Dr Ceri Lyn-Adams, head of science strategy at the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, further explained that these latest study findings provide reasonable evidence for imminent drug innovation and the possibility of developing more cost-conscious, protein-based drugs.
Researchers also added that just three eggs were able to produce enough dose for the drug. Since the chickens can lay up to 300 eggs per year, their approach will be able to develop important drugs at a reasonable cost, as compared to conventional methods of production.
For now, the medicines are not produced for human consumption. However, the study offers enough proof for a robust system that is capable of being reformed to develop other remedial proteins.
The study was published in BMC Biotechnology.