Tuesday November 12, 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)

Next Story

Researchers Find That Discount on Medical Drugs Can Make you Purchase Them More

The study used Canadian national pharmacy data from 2.82 million prescriptions for 89 different medications where brand-name drug discount cards were used and compared

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While Discount cards decreased some patients' out-of-pocket costs by 7 per cent on an average, the study surprisingly found that many patients who filled prescriptions using a card were worse-off financially as a result. Pixabay

Researchers have found that brand-name Drug Discount cards are leading to higher healthcare spending in Canada.

Brand-name drug discount cards — also known as co-pay cards — are coupons offered by drug manufacturers to encourage patients to use brand-name drugs even after much cheaper generics became available.

Despite often boosting savings for customers, the study’s findings published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal show that drug discount cards actually increased private insurer costs by 46 per cent and public insurer costs by 1.3 per cent, compared to patients purchasing generics instead.

“We know that generic drugs are equally effective for the vast majority of patients. Given that, I believe these cards are leading to unjustifiable increases in health care costs,” said the study’s lead author Michael Law from the University of British Columbia in Canada.

While discount cards decreased some patients’ out-of-pocket costs by 7 per cent on an average, the study surprisingly found that many patients who filled prescriptions using a card were worse-off financially as a result.

This wasn’t the case for all drugs, but in some cases patients could pay up to $10 more out-of-pocket when using a discount card.

The study used Canadian national pharmacy data from 2.82 million prescriptions for 89 different medications where brand-name drug discount cards were used and compared the costs of these prescriptions to matched generic equivalents.

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Researchers have found that brand-name Drug Discount cards are leading to higher healthcare spending in Canada. Pixabay

The researchers said that patients, their clinicians and employers should be aware of the impact that brand-name discount cards have on the healthcare system.

For example, the increased costs to private insurers will likely be passed on to the patients and their employers in the form of increased insurance premiums.

ALSO READ: Ram Mandir To Be Built In Ayodhya By 2022

“Regardless of whether they hold insurance, patients should check the relative price between brand-name drugs with a discount card and the equivalent generics at their pharmacy,” said Law. (IANS)