Genetically-engineered chickens capable of laying eggs containing cancer-fighting drugs

Image from British Hen Welfare Trust

• Japanese researchers created chickens capable of laying eggs that contain cancer-fighting drugs
• The team used gene editing technology to make the chickens
• The goal is to lower the price of the very expensive cancer-fighting drug to just 10 percent of its current price

A team of Japanese researchers have successfully modified chickens to make them capable of laying eggs that contain Interferon beta, a protein used in treating diseases like hepatitis, multiple sclerosis and skin cancer.

Injecting Interferon beta protein to cancer patients per week prevents cancer cells from multiplying, while also boosting T cells to fight tumors, as mentioned in a Newsweek story dated October 9, 2017.

However, the protein is very expensive. A few micrograms of interferon beta can cost up to 100,000 yen or $888. The researchers hope to harvest up to 100 milligrams per egg.

“This is a result that we hope leads to the development of cheap drugs. In the future, it will be necessary to closely examine the characteristics of the agents contained in the eggs and determine their safety as pharmaceutical products,” Professor Hironobu Hojo of Osaka University said.

The goal, according to the team, is to lower the price of Interferon beta to only 10 percent of its current price.

The team currently have three genetically-modified hens that lay eggs every one or two days.

This article has been viewed 97 times. Article originally posted: October 10, 2017, 5:17 pm (UTC-0). Last update: October 10, 2017 at 5:17 pm (UTC-0).

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