New Zealand Goats Taught To Give Milk With Cancer Drug

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New Zealand Goats Taught To Give Milk With Cancer Drug
New Zealand Goats Taught To Give Milk With Cancer Drug

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New Zealand Goats Taught To Give Milk With Cancer Drug

The new method could make the production of modern drugs cheaper. Goats that are able to synthesize monoclonal antibodies are otherwise quite common.

New Zealand goats
New Zealand goats

Photo: ercwttmn / Flickr

New Zealand scientists have proposed an original way to make the production of expensive cancer drugs cheaper. The genetically modified sheep they bred produce milk with cetuximab. Futurism talks about this with reference to New Scientist. The new research is posted on the biorxiv.org preprint resource.

Cetuximab belongs to the class of monoclonal antibodies. These are antibodies (complex proteins) that are made by the body or created in the laboratory to hit a specific target. Thus, cetuximab neutralizes epidermal growth factor receptors, which are involved in the regulation of the cell cycle and vascular growth. It is prescribed for colorectal cancer, lung cancer and more.

The production of cetuximab is not a purely laboratory process, it requires live mice for production, it is a lengthy procedure. The price of a monthly course of treatment costs more than $ 13,000. Scientists believe that the new production method could be much cheaper and could make modern treatments more affordable.

“Making cetuximab in animals is much more economical because their mammary glands can produce large amounts of protein,” Götz Laible, co-author of the study, told New Scientist. He added that the main goal of the study is to reduce costs for both the manufacturer and the consumer.

In a new study, scientists have shown that genetically engineered goats can synthesize the drug in increasing amounts. But this scientific work did not compare the purity and effectiveness of "goat" antibodies with antibodies that were produced by mice.

“Additional genes in the genome allow goats to make antibodies in their milk. Aside from these changes, these goats are perfectly common,”Libl told The New Zealand Herald.

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