Istanbul University Approaches the End in Drug Production from Transgenic Lamb. The first transgenic (genetically modified) lamb in Turkey was born in Istanbul University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine recently. Head of the team conducting transgenic research at the university, Prof. Dr. Sema Birler stated that the drugs and raw materials to be produced from the milk of transgenic animals are very valuable. Birler said, “A pig whose milk produced protein was sold for 10 million dollars 15-1 years ago in Germany. You can guess from here.” said.
The news, which excited the representatives of the scientific world as much as academics, came from Istanbul University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine recently. Attracting the attention of the scientific world by producing transgenic rabbits a short time ago, Prof. Dr. Sema Birler and her team of 20 people have now succeeded in producing a transgenic lamb named 'Çimen' in the continuation of the same project. If the raw materials of drugs used in diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's can be produced from the milk of these animals, a critical stage will be left behind. Birler explained this stage with the words "We can produce pharmaceutical raw materials in 1-2 years".
Sema Birler, who is the head of the project, explained that transgenic animal production is very difficult: “We tried to be successful in transgenic animal production, which we started right after the cloning studies we had done before, within one-thousandth of a thousand. The most important thing for us is to be able to produce farm animals whose milk can produce medicine. When you think about it on a farm animal basis, it is very difficult to produce transgenic animals. With the development of cloning techniques, the success rate has increased, but even now this success rate is very low. Before the birth, we had a concern, about whether the birth will be healthy or whether it will be the birth we expect. Births usually happen on weekends and in the morning. We came here and checked all the puppies, one by one, for a green glow. Except for our last pup, we have had a disappointment with all the others. Considering the success rates of transgenic technology, 5 puppies are not enough for such a study, but when the last pup was born, we noticed a green on his lip. It was less green when he was first born though. It was very gratifying for us, especially to see the shine in her mouth and tongue. Currently, our lamb is quite healthy.”
'WE COME TO THE LAST STEP FOR PHARMACEUTICAL MANUFACTURING'
Birler, stating that they have come to the last step for drug production, said, “The fact that we can produce transgenic animals with the characteristics we want in our studies means that we have passed the last step. We aim to produce erythropoietin substance. Choosing this protein is very important in terms of country priorities. Because the drug containing this substance has an important place in annual imports. Most of the imported drugs are biotechnological drugs. Being dependent on foreign sources, especially in a field such as Health, is a situation that needs to be emphasized. We want to contribute to this situation with the production of products with high added value.” used the phrase.
Sema Birler explained the financial return of the work done with an example in Germany. Noting that the substance produced is expressed in grams, Birler said, “Even producing 1-2 grams of this substance in a liter of milk is a great success. 10-15 years ago in Germany, a pig whose milk produced protein was sold for 1 million dollars. You can guess here. Producing an animal that can produce truly valuable drugs will be of great benefit to the country's economy.” said.
Birler also stated that despite the successful results, they have not yet seen the interest of the pharmaceutical industry in the subject, “We have not received a cooperation offer so far. We have a joint work with the University of Hawaii, we will continue to work with them, but in terms of industry, something has happened at the beginning level, but it has not continued. In fact, a large investment is not required, it is equivalent to an investment in establishing a farm. Because we have a laboratory established as Istanbul University. I can say within 1-2 years for the first raw material production. If we can show that the produced substance is equivalent to the one in medicine, then we can at least compensate for some of this great loss in our country's economy.” made its assessment.