Successful Lab Production of Human Glucocerebrosidase in Genetically Engineered Tobacco Plants

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The successful stable integration of the human gene for glucocerebrosidase in the chromosomes of tobacco, was reported in the US National Gaucher Foundation's Newsletter, Winter 1995.

'The most important aspect of our results,' says Dr David Radin, President of CropTech, Virginia, USA, 'was the finding that we could extract relatively large amounts of enzymatically active human enzyme from the "transgenic" tobacco plants. This means that this human gene is able to function in tobacco and, most significantly, that the human enzyme that is produced by the plant, retains the basic biochemical function that it has in humans.

'At this stage we believe that our research should offer a cautious optimism to the Gaucher community that a break in the cost problem for drug therapy will eventually result. Although much laboratory research must still be completed to address issues of potential therapeutic function and toxicity before this plant product can be given to humans, we hope to be ready to begin trials in three to five years.'

Dr Gregory Grabowski, a pioneer in research and clinical treatment of Gaucher disease and Director of Human Genetics at the Children's Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio, is collaborating in this project.

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Source: Gauchers News March 1996.

© Copyright Gauchers Association 1996.