Birds at the Roslin Institute
, near Edinburgh (Scotland), had been modified to lay eggs which contain miR24â€”an antibody that has the potential to treat skin cancerâ€”and others produce human interferon b-1a
â€”which can be used to stop viruses from replicating in cells.
The institute claims it produced five generations of chickens that can produce useful levels of proteins for the development of life-saving cancer drugs in their eggs. The proteins are secreted into the egg whites, and can then be extracted and purified.
“The idea of producing the proteins involved in treatments of flocks of laying hens means they can produce in bulk, they can produce cheaply and indeed the raw material for this production system is quite literally chicken feed.”
The Roslin Institute is the same research centre that first cloned a sheep, called Dolly,