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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tobacco Plant may prove to be Saviour for AIDS and Diabetes Patients

Posted by Prahallad Panda on 7:36 PM Comments

An anti-HIV antibody has been produced from genetically modified tobacco plant and approved by UK regulators for first clinical trial of this kind in Europe.
The phase I trial will begin in the University of Surrey Clinical Research Centre. It is a monoclonal antibody made from the plant cells; a microbicidal cream, to be applied locally in vagina.
The active agent code named P2G12, recognizes a protein molecule on the surface of the HIV to block establishing the infection in the host.
 Tobacco plants growing in a field in Intercour...Tobacco Plant

The genetically modified (GM) plants will be grown in a greenhouse in Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology in Aachen, Germany.
Those will be harvested in 45 days, leaves shredded and churned to get very purified antibody in the plant cells. The process will produce 5 grams of purified protein fro 250 kilograms of tobacco.
The protein drugs could be made more efficiently and cheaply inside GM crops, since plants are extremely cost-effective protein producers. The purified product may be 10 to 100 times cost effective than the cost of production through the conventional bioreactors.
Again, this simple production technology can be transferred to other developing nations, where the drug is much needed.
Earlier, scientists had grown insulin in this type of plants. There had been much interest in the oral insulin. At present insulin for diabetics can be administered through parental route, i.e. subcutaneous and intravenous route. That is because insulin being a protein is denatured by the acidic environment of stomach, while passing by, thus becomes ineffective before being absorbed.
In the modified technology, the insulin produced in the GM plant will be in the plant cells. The cellulose wall of plant cells resist the digestion in the stomach and insulin laden cells can pass to the intestine, from where it can be absorbed after digestion of cellulose wall there.
There are much hope for the future treatment modalities of HIV/AIDS and diabetes.
However, the results of the final trial will tell the future of the drug.
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