Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Transgenic Cows Offer Life-Saving Medicines Sooner

August 16, 2002

Transgenic Cows Offer Life-Saving Medicines Sooner

"If this application is approved it will greatly increase the likelihood of effective treatments being available sooner, some of them life-saving, for some rare but very severe diseases. The application is about more than experimental and basic science. It is also about the reality of production of medicines that are in short supply".

This statement to the ERMA hearing on AgResearch's application to genetically modify cows to produce therapeutic proteins, was made by John Forman, Executive Director of NZORD, the NZ Organisation for Rare Disorders.

Mr Forman cited one example of a medicinal protein extracted from the milk of a transgenic rabbit, saving the lives of children who would otherwise have died at less than one year of age from a fatal infantile disease, Pompe disease, a Lysosomal storage disorder. A very limited number of patients with juvenile and adult forms of the disease are also receiving treatments of the rabbit-sourced protein, in extended trials over the past three years.

"The proof of principle established in this clinical trial has led to the need to scale up production of Alpha-Glucosidase for wider trials and treatment of Pompe disease", Mr Forman told the ERMA hearing panel, "but there is a world wide shortage of production capacity for these complex proteins," he said. "Genzyme, the Biotech company, is stretched to capacity with existing production plus this new protein, in its large scale cell-line fermentation vats. Two additional fermenters for Pompe medicine alone, will cost Genzyme about NZ$10Million each. The delays are leading to high levels of anxiety and frustration among the patient group, including New Zealanders affected by Pompe and similar diseases."

Meanwhile other Lysosomal disorders have the potential for trials and treatment to begin as soon as their particular proteins can be produced in sufficient quantity, but the knowledge of the disease, and technical ability to treat, is well ahead of current production capacity. Several of these diseases are now waiting in a queue for commercial development of the protein.

"That is one very good reason we need this transgenic cows development project to proceed," said Mr Forman. "Production of these proteins through transgenic cows offers the possibility of highly functional proteins that will be good medicines, available in good quantity, and at lower cost than current production methods".

Mr Forman also told the hearing that the alternative production by cell-line fermentation, itself a genetic modification process, poses environmental stresses with the disposal of large quantities of disinfected cell-culture waste after each batch, and cannot always produce proteins of the required complexity, facts noted by the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification.

"It is important for many of the Lysosomal diseases, and potentially many other groups of rare disorders, that experimentation on new ways of producing these proteins is permitted", said Mr Forman. "The rabbits demonstrated the possibility, but while they might breed like rabbits, unfortunately they do not milk like cows".

Scientists and patient groups see the enormous potential of the cows' mammary gland to solve supply and cost problems, while producing well targeted and effective medicinal proteins for many diseases, and AgResearch's expertise in cow biology could make them a leader in the transgenic cow herds that are now being established in several countries.

END


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Werewolf: What Does Winston Peters Want His Legacy To Be?

A lot of people in New Zealand seem to resent Winston Peters and the power that he appears to have. “Appears” being the operative word. In reality, Peters will have power only up to the point that he uses it.

By next week, he’ll have become just another junior player in an MMP governing arrangement, battling to hold onto the gains he was promised. More>>

 

Rising Toll: Road Safety Needs To Be A Higher Priority

Official advice released to the Green Party under the Official Information Act shows that the previous National Government dismissed an option to make road safety its most important transport priority after being told the road toll was rising. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>

ALSO:

Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>

ALSO:

Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>

ALSO:

Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election