Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

GM Plants To Grow Vaccines Against Killer Diseases

18.03.2005


Genetically modified (GM) plants are to be used to grow vaccines for use in the worldwide fight against HIV, tuberculosis, diabetes and rabies thanks to a grant of 12 million euros from the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).



‘Pharma-Planta’ draws on the expertise and experience of 39 scientists from 11 European countries and South Africa to address significant health problems affecting Europe and the developing world - although the primary aim is to provide medicines for poorer countries.

In the first international project of its kind, ‘Pharma-Planta’ will develop the concept from plant modification through to clinical trials and they expect to begin human trials of the drugs within four years.


“We are addressing the serious issue of global inequality of health”, says scientific coordinator, Professor Julian Ma from St George’s Hospital Medical School in London. “Although the major burden of 21st century disease is in the developing world we have to accept it as a global problem as these are the countries that do not have access to vaccines.

“We know we can use GM technology to force a plant’s molecular apparatus to produce a range of medically useful compounds. Already genetic modification of other organisms is being used to produce human insulin and a hepatitis B vaccine. However, plant derived materials used in humans have never been formally addressed within the EU. So, this is a ground-breaking project that aims to provide help for the millions of people that die each year throughout the world from vaccine preventable diseases.”

Because plants are inexpensive to grow they could be used to produce large quantities of drugs or vaccines at low cost - anywhere between 10 and 100 times lower than conventional production, which is often labour intensive, expensive and often produces relatively small amounts of pharmaceuticals.

If the project is successful, the techniques would be licensed to developing countries. They would then be able to start up their own production to generate whatever amount they require at a cost that would not impact greatly on the countries economy.

Although the project has not finally decided which plants will be used, the likely candidates are tobacco or maize.

“The ‘Pharma-Planta’ project is an excellent example of how EU Framework Funding is being used to help research and development projects that will have a major impact on the everyday lives of people both in Europe and around the world”, says Claire Horton FP6UK’s National Contact Point for ’Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health. “This funding helps bring together experts from different countries to work together in the fight against diseases that can affect us all.

“The current Framework Programme (FP6) runs until 2006 and organisations wanting free information on how to access some of the 19 billion euros available should log on to http://fp6uk.ost.gov.uk or call central telephone support on 0870 600 6080.”

Dave Sanders | alfa
Further information:
http://fp6uk.ost.gov.uk

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Kakao in Monokultur verträgt Trockenheit besser als Kakao in Mischsystemen
18.09.2017 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

nachricht Ultrasound sensors make forage harvesters more reliable
28.08.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Zerstörungsfreie Prüfverfahren IZFP

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>