What Is the Most Cost-Effective Way to Manufacture Medicines?

The next battle in the fight against cancer is not being waged in a factory. It’s going on inside genetically-modified chickens. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland are producing chickens that can manufacture a particular protein that may eventually lead to cancer-fighting drugs for humans. The researchers have successfully encoded human proteins into chicken DNA, which then become accessible in their egg whites. One protein has anti-cancer properties, while another spurs tissue repair. “Production from chickens can cost anywhere from 10 to 100 times less than the factories," said a biochemist on the project.

Laying eggs to fight cancer:

  • Only three eggs are needed to produce one medicinal dose, the researchers explained. Protein-based drugs used to treat diseases can be expensive to produce using more traditional methods.
  • Drugs derived from genetically-modified animals have been approved by the FDA in the past. Approval for a blood thinner made from altered goat’s milk, for example, was green-lighted in 2009.
  • The chickens in the research were modified over "several generations" to ensure their safety. Strict guidelines ensure that the birds will never enter the food supply, the university said.
More Info: USA Today

Discussion Comments


I will pass this on to my chicken farmer.

Post your comments
Forgot password?