The scientists said the percentage of human proteins produced in their algal cultures that were properly folded in three dimensions was comparable to the fraction produced by mammalian cell cultures and much better than that produced by bacterial systems. And because algae generate their energy from sunlight and have relatively simple nutrient needs, they said the costs for using them at large scale to commercially produce human proteins should be much lower than for mammalian cell culture, which require expensive fermentation facilities.
To conduct their study, the scientists picked seven proteins that were either currently being used as standard treatments for diseases or are now undergoing human clinical trials. They include human interferon β1, which is used to treat Multiple Sclerosis and costs patients from $1,600 to $2,000 for a one month supply; human erythropoietin or EPO, used to increase red blood production in patients undergoing chemotherapy; and human proinsulin, a hormone with a multi-billion dollar market used to treat Type 1 diabetes. Two other proteins were human vascular endothelial growth factor or VEGF, used to treat patients suffering from pulmonary emphysema, and high moblility group protein B1 (HMGB1), which activates immune cells and is being investigated for its potential to enhance other cancer therapies. The remaining two proteins were domains 10 and 14 of human fibronectin, which are being investigated for their ability to mimic certain kinds of antibodies.
Mayfield and his colleagues at The Scripps Research Institute demonstrated two years ago that they could produce a mammalian serum amyloid protei
|Contact: Kim McDonald|
University of California - San Diego