Japan scientists grow drugs in chicken eggs

The scientists now have three hens whose eggs containing the drug "interferon beta", with the birds laying eggs almost
The scientists now have three hens whose eggs containing the drug "interferon beta", with the birds laying eggs almost daily, the report said

Japanese researchers have genetically engineered hens whose eggs contain drugs that can fight serious diseases including cancer, in a bid to dramatically reduce the cost of treatment, a report said Monday.

If the scientists are able to safely produce "interferon beta", a type of protein used to treat illnesses including and hepatitis, by rearing the , the price of the drug—currently up to 100,000 yen ($888) for a few microgrammes—could fall significantly, said the English edition of the Yomiuri Shimbun.

Researchers at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in the Kansai region kicked off the process by introducing genes that produce into cells which are precursors of chicken sperm, the newspaper reported.

They then used these cells to fertilise eggs and create hens which inherited those genes, meaning the birds were able to lay eggs containing the disease-fighting agent.

The scientists now have three hens whose eggs contain the drug, with the birds laying almost daily, the report said.

The researchers plan to sell the drug to pharmaceutical companies, halving its price, so the firms can use it first as a research material, the newspaper said.

Consumers may have to wait a while, as Japan has strict regulations concerning the introduction of new or foreign pharmaceutical products, with screening processes that routinely take years to complete.

But the team hopes that the technological breakthrough will eventually help drive down the cost of the drug to 10 percent of its current price, the newspaper reported.

Officials at the institute could not be reached for comment.


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Oct 09, 2017
- economic savings will not necessarily reach the consumers, but it will certainly benefit the profits of the producers,

- the production of biomolecules in chicken eggs has been already reported. However, as far as I know, the quantity produced per egg is not really such to change the game, at least so far.

Oct 09, 2017
economic savings will not necessarily reach the consumers,

It might, since methods like this make it possible to produce the target biomolecule basically anywhere in the world without much of a lab setup.

the production of biomolecules in chicken eggs has been already reported.

AFAIK that was passive (i.e. by injection in the egg...e.g. for letting influenza viruses replicate)

Oct 09, 2017
Dear antialias_physorg you should do your homework before speaking out.

For example:
http://www.cell.c...)00021-7

https://www.bioph...ken-eggs

And it might ...., too bad who has invented and patented the technology will want to cash in. I would. And you should know that it requires specialized equipment to purify the biomolecules of interest from the rest of the egg

Ignorance really is bliss

Oct 09, 2017
The purification is certainly an issue. But the creation itself is the first step. If that can be done anywhere this might be a good thing for developing countries which otherwise have to buy these pharamceuticals at eye-gouging prices.

Patenting stuff doesn't put total protection on an invention. There's plenty of countries that don't care whether something is patented or not. Some have patent laws on the books but don't enforce them. Others just outright don't have any patent laws.
(China being most prominent...but plenty of smaller nations also don't hold much with patent protection)

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