After seven years of hard work Mayfield and his colleagues at UC San Diego from the Biology Department have succeeded in making a drug to treat cancer from algae called, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. It is a green algae that is widely used in biology laboratories as a genetic model organism and it can produce a range of human therapeutic proteins in larger amounts and more cheaply than bacteria or mammalian cells.
This is great news, because they are able to genetically engineer algae and produce a complex and expensive human therapeutic drug used to treat cancer, which will then lower the price of cancer treatment dramatically.
In sciencedaily.com they wrote that their new method could also make novel complex designer drugs that can’t be produced in any other systems–drugs that could be used to treat cancer or other human diseases in new ways. Because Mayfield said that, “You can’t make these drugs in bacteria, because bacteria are incapable of folding these proteins into these complex, three-dimensional shapes, and you can’t make these proteins in mammalian cells because the toxin would kill them.”
Their accomplishment is in this week’s early online issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and it has allowed for other opportunities to make this drug and other “designer” proteins in large amounts at an extremely low-cost.
For more information visit: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121210160846.htm