Plants: Factories of the Future - Biotechnology Institute

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Dec 1, 2012 (4 years and 11 months ago)

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The Biotechnology Institute is pleased to present Your World’s fall 2003
issue exploring plant-made pharmaceuticals. Interest in this field is
blossoming as scientists recognize the tremendous potential of using
plants to manufacture useful proteins. It’s one of the many aspects of
biotechnology—the use of living organisms to benefit humanity.
We focus on these basics:
• What is involved in making plant-made pharmaceuticals (
PMP
s)?
• How are
PMP
s different from nutraceuticals and edible vaccines?
• Who can benefit from
PMP
s?
• Are plant-made pharmaceuticals safe and effective?
• How are policymakers dealing with
PMP
s?
Biotechnology is shaping the lives of people of all ages, and we hope this mag-
azine cultivates an interest in a career that is part of this exciting technology.
Paul A. Hanle, President
Biotechnology Institute
2
Planting for the Future: Plant-Made Pharmaceuticals
Publisher
The Biotechnology Institute
Editor
Kathy Frame
Managing Editor
Lois M. Baron
Design
Dodds Design
Cover and Inside Illustration
©2003 John Michael Yanson
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
.
Troy Mashburn Photo
©2003 Keith Barraclough
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
.
Advisory Board
Don DeRosa,
Ed.D.
,CityLab,
Director of Education,
Boston University Medical College
Lori Dodson,
Ph.D.
,
North Montco Technical Career Center
Anthony Guiseppi-Elie,
Sc.D.
,
Virginia Commonwealth University
Lynn Jablonski,
Ph.D.
,
GeneData
(USA)
, Inc.
Mark Temons,
Muncy Junior/Senior High School
Sharon Terry,
M.A.
,President,
Genetic Alliance
For more information
Biotechnology Institute
1840 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 202
Arlington, VA 22201
info@biotechinstitute.org
Phone: (703) 248-8681
Fax: (703) 248-8687
Volume 13, Issue No. 1 Fall 2003
Biotechnology Institute
The Biotechnology Institute is an inde-
pendent, national, nonprofit organization
dedicated to education and research about
the present and future impact of biotech-
nology. Our mission is to engage, excite,
and educate the public, particularly young
people, about biotechnology and its
immense potential for solving human
health, food, and environmental prob-
lems. Published biannually, Your World is
the premier biotechnology publication for
7th- to 12th-grade students. Each issue
provides an in-depth exploration of a par-
ticular biotechnology topic by looking at
the science of biotechnology and its prac-
tical applications in health care, agricul-
ture, the environment, and industry.
Please contact the Biotechnology Institute
for information on subscriptions (individ-
ual, teacher, or library sets). Some back
issues are available.
Acknowledgments
The Biotechnology Institute would like to
thank the Pennsylvania Biotechnology
Association, which originally developed
Your World,and Jeff Alan Davidson,
founding editor.
The Biotechnology Institute acknowledges
with deep gratitude the financial support
of Centocor, Inc., and Ortho Biotech.
Plants: Factories of the Future................................................................2
So You Want to Make a
PMP . . .
............................................................4
Worth the Effort......................................................................................6
Down on the ‘Pharm’..............................................................................8
The Chosen Ones..................................................................................10
Potent Plants..........................................................................................12
Career Profile Anne-Marie Stomp........................................................14
Activity Microbial Bioassay....................................................................15
Glossary and Resources........................................................................16
Contents
Main Points
©2003 Biotechnology Institute.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
.
3
A
cross the country, workers
have been reporting to manu-
facturing facilities that they
casually call plants, as in “I’ve got to
clock in at the plant at 5 a.m.” In the
not-too-distant future, we may see
plants—the kind with seeds, roots,
stems, and leaves—serving as factories
for plant-made pharmaceuticals.
Using biotechnology, scientists place into a
plant a gene that expresses a medically useful
protein, then the plant makes that protein
using its own biological machinery. These
protein-based drugs and vaccines (“biolog-
ics”) are called plant-made pharmaceuticals
(
PMP
s).
PMP
s are true drugs, approved by the Food
and Drug Administration
(FDA)
in the United
States. They should not be confused with
nutraceuticals, which are compounds used as
part of a diet to improve health. And they are
not edible vaccines, that is, vaccines adminis-
tered by eating a specific amount of a food.
Plant-made pharmaceuticals do not involve
eating the plant; the plant is merely used as a
factory for protein production. The proteins
for
PMP
s are always extracted from a plant.
Plants are naturally good protein makers,
and scientists know a lot about how plants go
about their work. Researchers also under-
stand quite a bit about plant genetics, growth,
and development, which makes cultivating
genetically modified plants relatively simple.
Plants can be turned into economical and
renewable protein-manufacturing systems
with a few simple resources—water, air, sun-
light, minerals, and the right set of genes. In
contrast, protein production in bacterial sys-
tems and mammalian cell cultures is very
costly and limited by the capacity of buildings
and equipment.
There are legitimate concerns about using
plants to produce therapeutic proteins,
including a low risk of food and feed contam-
ination, exposure of farm workers to poten-
tially harmful genetic material, and the
possibility that wildlife and insects will feed
on the altered crops. Scientists are working
hard to address these issues, and government
agencies have set up strict rules and routines
for confinement and cultivation methods that
minimize risks. The U.S. Department of
Agriculture
(USDA)
and the
FDA
oversee every
stage of
PMP
production.
Plant-made pharmaceuticals could dramat-
ically benefit anyone who uses drugs or hopes
to find a drug to treat his or her illness. At the
very least, the science promises a new ability
to expand production, which might provide
more people with access to these drugs and
vaccines. Changing the balance of production
cost and profit also may make it possible to
offer drugs that are currently too expensive to
produce in mass quantities.
This technology holds tremendous poten-
tial to expand the range and availability of
pharmaceuticals to treat a wide array of
diseases. These diseases could go from
arthritis to asthma to cancer and beyond.
Some
PMP
s are already being tested in
humans. Clinical trials using proteins
encoded in corn to treat E. coli/travelers’ dis-
ease and cystic fibrosis, and a tobacco-based
PMP
to treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, are
under way. Scientists hope that several
PMP
s
will be commonly available in three to five
years. The following articles give you details
about this up-and-coming field.
Your World
Plants:Factories
of the
Future