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The Great Interferon Beta Mambo Chickens: Researchers Rear Hens that Lay Drug-Filled Eggs


The Yomiuri Shimbun

The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) Kansai in Osaka Prefecture has succeeded in making hens lay eggs that contain a pharmaceutical agent that can be used to treat such diseases as cancer and hepatitis, it has been learned.

The procedure uses genome editing technology to produce interferon beta, a type of protein related to the immune system, at a relatively low cost.

As early as next year, a joint research company plans to sell the drug as a research reagent at a price about half that of the conventional product. Eventually, they hope to lower the price to less than 10 percent of the current level.

Interferon beta is used in the treatment of malignant skin cancer and hepatitis, as well as for virus research.

Conventional production requires large-scale cultivation facilities, and it costs from ¥30,000 to ¥100,000 to produce a unit of the substance weighing a few micrograms.

A research team consisting of AIST Kansai, the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization in Ibaraki Prefecture and the reagent import and sales firm Cosmo Bio Co. in Tokyo developed the method.

First, they introduce genes that produce interferon beta via genome editing technology into cells that are precursors of chicken sperm. The cells are used to fertilize eggs that produce male chicks.

The hatched male chicks are crossbred with several females to rear chickens with the inherited genes … (read more)

via The Japan News

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