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Breakthrough: Now a transgender cow to battle cancer in humans

By Vinay Chand     Aug 12, 2008 in Health
Researchers in China have bred a genetically altered transgender cow to produce cancer fighting proteins for humans which would in turn help the country to mass produce the therapeutic proteins cheaply.
In what is termed to be one of the most innovative developments leading to battling cancer in humans, scientists in China have succeeded in breeding genetically altered transgender cows capable of producing CD20 antibodies in their milk.
CD20 cell-surface proteins found in mature B cells become cancerous in patients who suffer from non-Hodgkins lymphoma, which accounts for about 40 percent of all new cases of lymphoma. It is identified as the target in the treatment of lymphomas.
Mass breading of this type of cow will be undertaken all across China which would in turn enable the country to mass produce therapeutic proteins to help battle cancer, cheaply and yet, effectively.
According to an ANI news report:
The development is expected to significantly reduce the costs of CD20 antibody production, which currently uses chimeric anti-CD20 CHO (Chinese hamster ovary) cells.
Lead author Li Ning, an academician with China Academy of Engineering, said that the human monoclonal (produced from a single cell) antibodies could be purified from the milk of the transgenic cow, and used to treat B cell lymphomas and leukemias and some auto-immune diseases.
"After 10 days of careful observation, we are happy to see the cow is very healthy," Li, whose laboratory is based in the China Agriculture University, said.
The low antibody expression level and high cost of cell culture has been a stumbling block in the industrial production of the antibody drug, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1997.
The level of antibody expression the cow is capable of producing will not be known until researchers induce lactation but it is believed to be more than substantial compared to the amount expressed by transgenic mice, which were also genetically developed earlier.
The transgenic mice had been able to express 10 mg/ml of CD20 antibody on average in tests.
The first clinical study of functional food with the antibody will be completed in the next three years and the first functional drug should be made available after applying through China's food and drug authorities in a matter of five years.
More about Cow, Transgender, Cancer