Transgenic goats that produce monoclonal antibodies for anti-cancer therapy recently were developed by scientists from AgResearch in New Zealand. With further research the goats may prove to produce large volumes of an antibody through their milk without the expensive production costs of the same antibody in laboratory-controlled environments, according to the research organization.
The scientists developed several transgenic-goat lines that produced cetuximab in their milk. Cetuximab is a monoclonal antibody used against the epidermal growth factor receptor and an anti-cancer treatment. The scientists inserted genes responsible for the production of the antibody in the milk to the goat's genome cells. Then they used cloning technology to produce the goats.
After selection two promising lines exhibited stable genotypes and cetuximab-production levels of as much as 10 grams per liter – about 1.3 ounces per gallon. The researchers observed that the antibody produced by the goats was functional. They also said it can be easily purified.
The study concluded that transgenic goats are efficient for large-scale production of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies. With the exception of the change in their milk, they remain healthy and normal animals, according to the researchers.