New Medication Against Heart Attack

  1. iansmith

    iansmith 1,430
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    http://www.canada.com/national/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=93235391-40d9-47f1-a09e-ec318750ab9f
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Monique

    Monique 4,699
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    Garda.. good place to be.. little touristic, but alla.

    But the ApoA1 I don't understand, they just found out that it works? It would have been my first guess since it is a major part of the lipoprotein aggregates. Out the top of my head it probably allows HDL to take up more cholesterol and bring it to the liver to be excreted (remember, we are unable to metabolize cholesterol, the only way out is excretion).
     
  4. adrenaline

    adrenaline 274
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    The manufacturers of angioplasty balloons and stents are peeing in their pants!
     
  5. I'm not getting how they are making use of this. Are they taking blood from these villagers, separating this stuff out, and injecting it into other people?
     
  6. Monique

    Monique 4,699
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    That would be waaaay to expensive, they have probably made some bacterial system into which they transfected (or would it be transformed?) the gene encoding for the protein with a strong promotor in front of it so that the expression is high, after which they can purify it.
     
  7. This is the way proteins are usually replicated?
     
  8. iansmith

    iansmith 1,430
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    Yes. Insulin is produce by a genetically engineered E. coli. Some other protein are produce by yeast. the system are inexpensive and efficients.
     
  9. So, there is nothing you can think of that might make this medication particularly expensive to produce?

    I'm just speculating as to whether the drug companies will find a rationalization to jack up the price unfairly because it is sure to be such a widely desired treatment.

    -zoob
     
  10. Monique

    Monique 4,699
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    The only problem with the system is that the bacteria (also yeast?) will eventually loose the foreign piece of DNA.

    This due to the stress that is generated by having to over-produce this specific protein that has no function for the micro-organism.

    A cell that has lost the piece of DNA will have a significant growth advantage and will eventually take over the culture.

    Also, impurities left after purification would be able to generate an immune response, I imagine.

    But overall it is a really clever way to produce this kind of medication. Not just bacteria are used, also rabbits and maybe cows. The protein is specifically expressed in the mamary glands and will be excreted in the milk after which it can be purified. I guess they use these higher eukaryotes, since some proteins need post-translational modifications which don't take place in bacteria.
     
  11. Monique

    Monique 4,699
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    I don't think maintaining high grades cultures is cheap, but it is cheaper than isolating it from blood and the quantities that are produced allow mass scale distribution.

    HAH! Drug companies jacking up prices.. do you know how much profit they can make? Let me give you an example: Genzyme, a Massachusets based company, started out with like 15 people or so. They took over a project from academic researchers, the whole idea of making the medicine was already there, little research was required but setting up a system to produce and quality proof the production.

    Now, the researchers who did all the work get nill % off the profit into which all those years of effort and work was put into. The company hitched a ride and has now grown to ~5000 people.

    So, you might wonder, how much is their profit? Let me tell you: 95%. Yes, 5% of the cost is what they actually have to spend for the production. The 95% is what goes into their pocket. Surprised? :)
     
  12. iansmith

    iansmith 1,430
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    There is the R & D involve for the pricing and this is the expensive part of the product according to their rational. But it is less expensive because it can be mass produce more efficeintly than if you have to isolate the protein from its source.

    Insuline is to be insolated from pig pancreas. It was expnsive and the product was not readily available.

    This compagny can isolate spider web from goat milk

    Nexia Biotechnologies
    http://nexiabiotech.com/en/01_tech/08.php

    They also trying to use plants instead of animals. Cheaper, easier to produce, not as energy demanding and less ethic problem.
     
  13. Monique

    Monique 4,699
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    Btw, the patent has already expired for this medication, but generic versions have not be made since the compition would be too great with the already well established firm.
     
  14. Monique

    Monique 4,699
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    Researchers actually once did a trial in which they injected people with HDL (the good cholesterol).

    The problem with using this molecule is that it is an aggregate of lipoproteins and cholesterol and other proteins such as the apolipoproteins (Apo) and thus very hard to produce. It never took off the ground because of this and other routes have been chosen.
     
  15. This kind of profit margin is just about unbelievable to me. I suppose the phenomenon of medical insurance is what makes it possible. Not that I understand the workings of that.
     
  16. Et, bien? Pourquoi?

    What does anyone want with spider webs? Why would goats be a better source than spiders?
     
  17. Monique

    Monique 4,699
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    Normally it would not be that outragious, figuring the years (decade in some cases) of R&D that has gone into the research.

    They have to earn that back somehow, that is why brand medicines are so expensive: they want to make optimal use of the years that their patent allows them to be the sole producer and thus have no competititors.

    In this case I think it is outragious, since the company has not spend all the years doing R&D, the academia has. And also it is the sole producer, even though the patent has expired. The thinking of the company: with this medicine we are now earning the resources to research other venues of disease.

    In my opinion the company should set up a system, in which patients of the poorer countries where the insurance system is not able to cough up $300,000 per patient per year (and this continues life-long), are benifited with donations of some sort.

    Right now the group of academic researchers who first came up with the data have set up a European Working Group which helps such patients. Since the irony is: with this life-long treatment a patient can lead an almost normal life, otherwise it will get serious physical abnormalities (a spleen weighing 13 kg for instance).

    Maybe the company has something like this in place, I am not sure, I think they should :)
     
  18. iansmith

    iansmith 1,430
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    Spider Web is one of the more resitant fiber that human knows. It could be use for fireproofing materials, bullet proofing or any other material that need reinforcement.

    People do collect the wed from spider but it is a long and intensive manual labor. One indidual spider does not give as much web as one goat. For the goat all you have to do is to acquire the milk and isolate the protein. They are still working on the efficienty of the method.
     
  19. Monique

    Monique 4,699
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    Spiderweb fiber is one of the strongest compounds known to exist in nature. What you can do with that? Just imagine :)

    Why goats are a better source.. well.. how much web does a spider make in a day and how much milk does a goat make a day.. quantities ar the issue here.
     
  20. In a microbiology or molecular biology lab for instance, when the scientiest wants to maintain the presence of foreign DNA in a system, they use antibiotic resistance genes, growing the cells in the presence of the antibiotic. So in otherwords, if you wanted the continuted expression of your desired protein, and it it was sizably feasible to fit the gene encoding it into a plasmid that was readily transformed into a cell at a high efficiency, than what would stop someone from cloning the gene into a plasmid containing an antibiotic resistance gene and grwoing your cells in approporiate media with a sufficient concentration of the relative antibotic?

    In utilizing this type of methodology, how would the gene of interest be "lost"?
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2003
  21. How far have they gotten with this? Is there an actual bullet proof vest made from spider webs in existence? Or have they simply demonstrated the feasabilities on paper?
    Yes, I can see now that if you can spin it from a liquid under controled conditions it would be easier than collecting by hand. It's not the same thing as with the silk moth.
     
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