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Special eggs could help fight cancer and other diseases

A Californian company is developing a way of altering chickens so they produce eggs with cancer-fighting antibodies.

The process involves jellyfish DNA that causes the chicken to turn slightly fluorescent.
The eggs look normal, but they are part of a new cancer-research project being done by Burlingame's Origen Therapeutics.

Researchers hope to be able to make the egg produce cancer-fighting antibodies.

Robert Kay, the company's CEO, told a US radio station: "Well, they're mini factories where we can create human therapeutics, purify them and then provide them to patients to treat diseases like cancer, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases and so on."

Researchers captured certain cells from eggs and then grew and modified them in the lab.

The fluorescence in the chick embryos allows researchers to visually verify the success of their genetic modification.

Jellyfish protein is commonly used by scientists who perform genetic modification because its green glow tells the researcher what's worked and what hasn't.

In addition to potentially helping treat colon and breast cancer, the process may be used to treat bacterial infections, rheumatoid arthritis and possibly even bird flu.

The process is cheaper than traditional methods of growing antibodies. Researchers said it is also faster.

There are critics who oppose altering chicken embryos, but scientists in Burlingame said what hatches from this technology is worth pursuing if it can benefit patients in the future.

Editor WorldPoultry

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