Every now and then, we get a welcome dose of good news on what inroads science has been making in fighting cancer. Today, we’ve got a bizarrely delicious update that’s got us licking our lips.
“Japanese researchers have found a novel way to dramatically slash the cost of manufacturing a pricey drug used to treat cancer and hepatitis: by genetically programing chickens to lay drug-infused eggs.”
These scientists are performing ‘genomic editing’ on egg cells, getting them to produce interferon beta, “a type of protein that plays an important role in the functioning immune system.”
It’s commonly used to treat malignant skin cancer and hepatitis, and aids in virus research. It’s also very expensive (to the tune of over AUS$1,100 or US$850 for a few micrograms), and these chickens laying ‘golden eggs’ might just reduce those costs by a staggering 90%.
“As early as next year, the drug produced by the chickens may begin to be sold at a price about half that of the conventional means of production. Eventually, the scientists hope to reduce the price to under a tenth of the conventional method.”
Three hens are apparently doing all the work right now, producing about an egg every other day. They’re over at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Osaka, a state-owned facility.
“For now, the cancer-fighting eggs are to be used solely in a laboratory setting. But eventually, if the chicken-laid drugs pass inspection by health authorities, they could be approved for human consumption.”
We honestly can’t wait. As ‘cuckoo’ as this literally is, it seems like a really promising development in fighting the big C.