Roslin scientists, Roslin Institute – Scotland UK, have created the world’s first breed of genetically modified chickens to lay eggs capable of producing drugs that fight cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
The ISA Brown is a French breed of chicken, which is a cross between Rhode Island Red and Rhode Island White chickens. The breed is known for its high egg production of approximately 300 eggs per hen in the first year. The ISA Browns have each had human genes added to their DNA to enable them to produce complex medicinal proteins. These human proteins are secreted into the whites of the birds? eggs, from which they can be easily extracted to produce drugs. The research is a triumph for Dr Helen Sang, the leader of the Roslin team who, since 1997, has sought to make the technique work without new genes being lost as they are transmitted down the generations.
For the NHS, the hope is that such technologies will help to minimise its annual bill for prescription drugs which was ?8 billion last year; an increase of 46% since 2000.
Soon we will have variety of eggs in the market — eggs for Multiple sclerosis, eggs for Parkinson?s Disease, eggs for diabetes, eggs for high blood pressure, and a range of eggs for different cancers!