Japanese researchers have genetically designed hens whose eggs contain medication which will fight serious diseases including cancer, in a very bid to dramatically scale back the price of treatment, a report said Monday.
If the scientists are able to safely produce “interferon beta”, a kind of protein used to treat sicknesses including multiple sclerosis and liver disease, by rearing the hens, the value of the drug—currently up to 100,000 yen ($888) for a few microgrammes—could fall considerably, said the English edition of the Yomiuri Shimbun.
Researchers at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) within the Kansai region embarked on the method by introducing genes that turn out interferon beta into cells that are precursors of chicken sperm cell, the newspaper reported.
They then used these cells to fertilise eggs and make hens that inherited those genes, that means the birds were able to lay eggs containing the disease-fighting agent.
The scientists currently have 3 hens whose eggs contain the drug, with the birds laying eggs nearly daily, the report aforementioned.
The researchers commit to sell the drug to pharmaceutical corporations, halving its worth, therefore the corporations will use it 1st as a research material, the newspaper said.
Consumers could have to wait a while, as Japan has strict rules regarding the introduction of recent or foreign pharmaceutical products, with screening processes that routinely take years to complete.
But the team hopes that the technological breakthrough can eventually facilitate drive down the value of the drug to ten p.c of its current price, the newspaper said.