Posted August. 25, 2005 02:59,
A Korean research team created the worlds first cloned pigs that produce anticancer supplementary milk.
Professor Park Chang-sik (59) at the Research Center for the Creation of Transgenic Cloned Pigs at Chungnam National University announced its success on August 24. In cooperation with MGenbio, a biotechnology firm, we made transgenic cloned pigs that secrete granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) in its milk. GM-CSF is used as a supplement to treat cancer, he said.
The researchers have been helped by the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation. A patent on the technology is pending in Korea.
A small dose of GM-CSF is produced in the human body and this GM-CSF is a type of protein that stimulates the production of white blood cells. So it is used to make up for white blood cell shortages when treating leukemia, anemia and other diseases. The therapeutic proteinic medication is so expensive that only a gram of it costs $600,000.
According to the research teams explanation, they planted a human GM-CSF gene into the body cells of Land Race pigs and then transplanted the cells into pig eggs with their nuclei removed to create cloned embryos. Finally, the researchers implanted the embryos into surrogate pigs. The result was the birth of four transgenic cloned pigs.
Professor Park said, The genetic examination of the cloned pigs showed that they have GM-CSF in their body. After a year when they give birth to babies and produce milk, we will find out how much GM-CSF there is in the pigs milk.
Park Gwang-wook, MGenbio president, offered his prediction, saying, It will take more than 10 years to commercialize the technology by concluding the clinical demonstration and receiving an approval from the Korea Food and Drug Administration.