Special eggs could help fight cancer and other diseases
A Californian company is developing a way of altering chickens so
they produce eggs with cancer-fighting antibodies.
The process involves jellyfish DNA that causes the chicken to turn slightly
The eggs look normal, but they are part of a new cancer-research project
being done by Burlingame's Origen Therapeutics
Researchers hope to be able to make the egg produce cancer-fighting
Robert Kay, the company's CEO, told a US radio station: "Well, they're mini
factories where we can create human therapeutics, purify them and then provide
them to patients to treat diseases like cancer, infectious diseases, autoimmune
diseases and so on."
Researchers captured certain cells from eggs and then grew and modified them
in the lab.
The fluorescence in the chick embryos allows researchers to visually verify
the success of their genetic modification.
Jellyfish protein is commonly used by scientists who perform genetic
modification because its green glow tells the researcher what's worked and what
In addition to potentially helping treat colon and breast cancer, the process
may be used to treat bacterial infections, rheumatoid arthritis and possibly
even bird flu.
The process is cheaper than traditional methods of growing antibodies.
Researchers said it is also faster.
There are critics who oppose altering chicken embryos, but scientists in
Burlingame said what hatches from this technology is worth pursuing if it can
benefit patients in the future.
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