Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

“Growing” Medicines in Plants Requires new Regulations

Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Last Updated: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Scientists say amending an EU directive on GMOs could help stimulate innovation in making cheaper vaccines, pharmaceuticals and organic plastics using plants.

In a paper to be published in Current Pharmaceutical Design, six scientists from the US and Europe, including Dr Penny

Sparrow from the John Innes Centre, compare risk assessment and regulation between the two continents. Sense About Science will run a live Q&A on the subject from 12-1 on Wednesday 20th February.

In the EU, plant-made pharmaceuticals have to be authorised in the same way as GM agricultural crops. In theory, agricultural crops can be grown by any farmer in the EU once approved. But for crops producing pharmaceuticals this would never actually happen. Drug companies would likely license farmers to grow these crops under controlled, defined and confined conditions.

“We need tight regulations enforced by continuous oversight to encourage investment, while maintaining trust,” said Dr Penny Sparrow from the John Innes Centre.

“This will be of high importance, especially in Europe, where the issues surrounding the cultivation of GM agricultural crops remains a contentious concern.”

“Plant-made pharmaceuticals challenge two sets of existing EU regulations and to make progress in this area we need to make sure they are applied sensibly to allow pharmaceuticals to be produced in plants.”

Advantages of using plants to produce therapeutic proteins include the ability to produce large quantities quickly and cheaply, the absence of human pathogens, the stability of the proteins and the ease with which raw material can be stored as seed. This could be of huge benefit in developing countries where problems with storage can render vaccines useless.

If seed could be transported to local production and extraction facilities, the technology could also help boost local economies. The technology is also known as “plant molecular farming”.

Just one farm growing 16,000 acres of safflower could meet the world’s total demand for insulin. But potential cost savings are eliminated under current regulations, set up for GM agricultural crops not pharmaceuticals.

The average cost for having GMOs approved in Europe is estimated at €7-10 million per event, compared to $1-2 million in the US. This helps keep Europe behind in exploiting the potential of these technologies.

“Openness and transparency are needed to develop new regulations that work for the public and for investors,” said Sparrow.

“Regulations need to be harmonised across the world, in order to keep advances and competition on a level playing field.”

They propose amendments to EU Directive 2001/18 to allow pharmaceutical products from GM plants to be commercialised without needing authorisation to enter the human food or animal feed chain. Instead, the scientists say they should be grown under clearly defined and enforced conditions to keep the food and animal feed chain ‘contamination free’.

As each GM plant moves from the laboratory to scaled-up production in a greenhouse or field, additional oversight is needed to consider issues with environmental release and the ultimate use by humans. Measures can include those developed and ready to be implemented in the US, such as limited acreage, confinement, fallow zones and only supplying seed to farmers specifically contracted to grow PMPs.

Dr Sparrow was involved in a collaboration with EU partners to road test the challenges faced by potential investors. They chose the first plant-derived anti-HIV monoclonal antibody to be tested in humans. It was isolated, purified and formulated as a topical saline solution. One result of the project was preparing a regulatory pathway that others could follow to take a product into clinical trials. Another was establishing good manufacturing practices for biologically active proteins expressed in transgenic plants.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,300+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,900+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Plant-Based Vaccine Among Front Runners In Search For New Polio Jab
A researcher from Norwich is part of a consortium that has been awarded $1.5 million to develop safer polio vaccines, using a new technique developed at the John Innes Centre.
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Breeding More Climate Resilient Brassicas
Scientists at the John Innes Centre have discovered how a gene that helps determine plant flowering time could help us breed better brassicas in the face of climate change.
Friday, June 03, 2016
Super Wheat Brought Closer to Reality
Scientists at the John Innes Centre (JIC) and The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) have pioneered a new gene-detecting technology which, if deployed correctly could lead to the creation of a new elite variety of wheat with durable resistance to disease.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Flu Sends Scientists Dipping for Gold
Researchers on the Norwich Research Park have patented a quick, simple dipstick flu test using sugar labelled with gold.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
New Method for Associating Genetic Variation With Crop Traits
A new technique will allow plant breeders to introduce valuable crop traits even without access to the full genome sequence of that crop.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Major Grant from Gates Foundation to UK Center to Develop Self-Fertilizing Crops for the Developing World
The John Innes Centre in UK will lead a $9.8m research project to investigate whether it is possible to initiate a symbiosis between cereal crops and bacteria. The symbiosis could help cereals access nitrogen from the air to improve yields.
Monday, July 16, 2012
Plant Research Reveals New Role for Gene Silencing Protein
A DICER protein, known to produce tiny RNAs in cells, also helps complete an important step in gene expression, according to research on Arabidopsis thaliana.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Genomics unlocks key to Mendel's pea flowers
John Innes Centre scientists have helped discover the key to one of biology's most well-known experiments - the gene that controls pea flower colour, used by Gregor Mendel in his initial studies of inheritance.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
UK: Norfolk GM potato trial withstands blight
A trial plot of genetically-modified potatoes at Norfolk's John Innes Centre has withstood five days of intense late-blight infection.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Decoy Makes Sitting Duck of Superbugs
A DNA-based therapy could slash the development time of new drugs to combat antibiotic resistant superbugs.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Scientific News
Liquid Biopsies: Miracle Diagnostic or Next New Fad?
Thanks to the development of highly specific gene-amplification and sequencing technologies liquid biopsies access more biomarkers relevant to more cancers than ever before.
JPK NanoWizard® Applied to a Wide Range of Research
The NanoWizard® AFM from JPK is applied for interdisciplinary research at the University of South Australia for applications including smart wound healing and how plants can protect themselves from toxins.
Mutations in DNA-Repair Genes Found in Advanced Prostate Cancers
New findings indicate that nearly 12% of male advanced prostate cancer sufferers have inherited mutation in DNA-repair genes.
Protein Boosts Rice Yield by 54%
Over-expression of a natural protein in rice plants led to a 54% increase in crop yield and 40% increase in nitrogen-use efficiency.
Ice Bucket Challenge Instrumental in Gene Discovery
Donations from the ALS Ice Bucket Chellenge allowed for the largest-ever study of inherited ALS, which identified a new ALS gene.
Genetic Variability in Cell Bank Lots
Researchers working with cancer cells from the same cell bank acquired at the same time, found that the cells were genetically different.
Triple-Action Therapy Patch Shows Promise
Patch that delivers drug, gene, and light-based therapy to tumor sites shows promising results in mice.
Soil Nitrogen Age Important for Precision Agriculture
Calculating the age of nitrogen in corn and soybean fields could lead to improved fertilizer application techniques.
Targeting Autoimmunity
Researchers have developed a strategy to treat a rare autoimmune disease which could lead to treatments of other autoimmune diseases.
Molecule May Affect Gaucher, Parkinson's Disease
Research has identified a molecule that restores activity of a dysfunctional enzyme linked to Gaucher and Parkinson's disease.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,300+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,900+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!