Farmaceuticals

This paper discusses ‘farmaceuticals’, the application of the most advanced biotechnology to the most basic methods of agriculture, hence ‘farming’.

This paper explains that ‘farmaceuticals’ developed from transgenics, the implantation of DNA into a plant or animal to change some attribute of the product that plant or animal produces. The author points out that farmaceuticals will contribute to ending world hunger by creating farm crops and animals with higher-than-usual loads of various nutrients, which are prepared and eaten like any other similar food item. The paper relates that transgenic animals or crops can be used to produce drugs, properly called biopharmaceuticals, but many people use the terms ‘biopharmaceuticals’ and ‘farmaceuticals’ interchangeably.
“This second sort of farmaceutical may indeed have a great effect on the human condition merely because in some instances, producing needed pharmaceuticals through farmaceuticals is less expensive than producing the same compounds in the laboratory. Currently, one of the biggest of these farmaceutical programs is at GTC Biotherapeutics in Framingham, Massachusetts, where scientists are breeding goats and cows to carry genes for therapeutic proteins. (Therapeutic proteins include such compounds as monoclonal antibodies, which help the immune system by recognizing and binding to alien object in the body.) GTC can create a herd of transgenic goats for about $100m, a third of the cost of building a protein production facility of the old-fashioned sort with petrie dishes and so on. That method of creating the proteins costs about $150 a gram. Using goats and cows, it is estimated that “when this method finally gets underway” it may cost as little as $1 to $2 a gram for the same proteins. Since these compounds are used to treat expensive and deadly diseases such as cancer, this sort of farmaceutical could indeed be a boon to humanity.”

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