Wednesday July 17, 2019

Genetically Modified Chicken Offers Hope For Cheaper Drugs

team noted that the findings provide sound evidence for using chickens as a cheap method of producing high quality drugs for use in research studies and, potentially one day, in patients

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Chicken farm. Wikimedia

Chicken that are genetically modified to produce human proteins in their eggs can offer a cost-effective method of producing certain types of drugs, a new research suggests.

The study — which has initially focused on producing high quality proteins for use in scientific research — found the drugs working just as well as the same proteins produced using existing methods.

High quantities of the proteins can be recovered from each egg using a simple purification system and there are no adverse effects on the chickens themselves, which lay eggs as normal, suggests the study published in the journal BMC Biotechnology.

“We are not yet producing medicines for people, but this study shows that chickens are commercially viable for producing proteins suitable for drug discovery studies and other applications in biotechnology,” said co-author Helen Sang, Professor at the University of Edinburgh.

Eggs are already used for growing viruses that are used as vaccines, such as the flu jab.

This new approach is different because the therapeutic proteins are encoded in the chicken’s DNA and produced as part of the egg white.

Chicken farm. Pixabay

For the study, the team initially focused on two proteins that are essential to the immune system and have therapeutic potential — a human protein called IFNalpha2a, which has powerful antiviral and anti-cancer effects, and the human and pig versions of a protein called macrophage-CSF, which is being developed as a therapy that stimulates damaged tissues to repair themselves.

Just three eggs were enough to produce a clinically relevant dose of the drug. As chickens can lay up to 300 eggs per year, researchers say their approach could be more cost-effective than other production methods for some important drugs.

Protein-based drugs, which include antibody therapies such as Avastin and Herceptin, are widely used for treating cancer and other diseases, according to the researchers.

Also Read- Injecting Drugs May up Bacterial Heart Infections: Study

“We are excited to develop this technology to its full potential, not just for human therapeutics in the future but also in the fields of research and animal health,” said co-author Lissa Herron from the varsity.

The team noted that the findings provide sound evidence for using chickens as a cheap method of producing high quality drugs for use in research studies and, potentially one day, in patients. (IANS)

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Suspending Students Serve as Negative Turning Point in Adolescence; Makes Them More Prone to Hold Guns, Sell Drugs

Mowen and colleagues studied to what extent being suspended from middle and high school was a turning point that led to more deviant behaviour

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suspending students, drugs
Offending was defined as attacking or assaulting someone, possessing a gun, selling illegal substances, destroying property and stealing. Pixabay

Suspending students from school can do more harm than good, said researchers, suggesting that suspending students can serve as a negative and harmful turning point in adolescence, resulting in more crime like assaults, stealing and selling drugs in the neighbourhood.

The study by researchers at Bowling Green State University and Eastern Kentucky University and published in Justice Quarterly found that rather than decreasing subsequent offending, school suspensions increase such behaviour.

“Intensifying disciplinary strategies — what some have called the criminalization of school discipline — may do more harm than good and could result in more crime in schools, neighbourhoods and communities,” said Thomas James Mowen, assistant professor of sociology at Bowling Green State University.

Mowen and colleagues studied to what extent being suspended from middle and high school was a turning point that led to more deviant behaviour. They also examined whether school suspensions, the most common response to youth’s misbehaviour at school, amplified the likelihood that adolescents would offend as they grew into young adults.

suspending students, drugs
Powder drugs. Wikimedia Commons

Offending was defined as attacking or assaulting someone, possessing a gun, selling illegal substances, destroying property and stealing. The study found that exclusionary school discipline (suspensions) increased subsequent offending, substantially amplifying deviant behaviour as the youth moved through adolescence and into adulthood. Repeated suspensions further amplified subsequent offending.

ALSO READ: Pakistan, India to Allow Sikh Pilgrims Visa-Free Access to Gurudwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur

The researchers took into account a variety of factors that influence offending behaviour, including whether youth dropped out of school, how youth felt about their schools (whether they felt safe, though their teachers were interested in them, believed school discipline was fair), how they felt about their families and their families’ income.

“The findings point to the need for school officials and policymakers to recognize the negative consequences of these approaches, examine the underlying causes of students’ behaviour and change how we manage that misbehaviour,” said Mowen. (IANS)