BLOOD PROTEIN FROM PLANTS: Tobacco

Until recently, people with blood clotting disorders were treated with a substance derived from human blood. Well, now scientists are turning to a genetically-modified tobacco plant for a cheaper and most likely safer, alternative. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by DuPont.

We’re at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington where they are synthesizing a substance known as human coagulation factor eight. Factor eight is an ingredient in human blood that helps stop bleeding. It’s a protein mostly lacking in hemophiliacs. Dr. Brian Hooker is a biochemical engineer who’s been working to develop factor eight.

“In the past, factor eight has been derived from donor human plasma. With the problems of disease transmission, and as well as the shortages that have occurred in whole blood donations and blood plasma donations, it was very difficult to treat hemophilia.”

For years, viruses such as hepatitis and HIV have been transmitted to hemophiliacs through treatment with human blood plasma. Scientists tell us that these viruses could not be contracted from a plant derived medium. What’s more, the plant protein could provide a cheaper and more reliable source of this crucial component of our blood.

“Currently, it costs about 2 million dollars to produce a gram of coagulation factor 8. Because of that cost constraint factor eight is underperscribed. With plant cell technology, feasibly we could raise up the world’s supply of human coagulation factor eight within a single greenhouse. ”

Well you can now hear some of your favorite Pulse of the Planet programs again online at nationalgeographic.com Pulse of the Planet is presented by DuPont, bringing you the miracles of science, with additional support provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

BLOOD PROTEIN FROM PLANTS: Tobacco

Scientists may have found a cheap and safe treatment for people with blood clotting disorders.
Air Date:03/28/2000
Scientist:
Transcript:

Until recently, people with blood clotting disorders were treated with a substance derived from human blood. Well, now scientists are turning to a genetically-modified tobacco plant for a cheaper and most likely safer, alternative. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by DuPont.

We're at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington where they are synthesizing a substance known as human coagulation factor eight. Factor eight is an ingredient in human blood that helps stop bleeding. It's a protein mostly lacking in hemophiliacs. Dr. Brian Hooker is a biochemical engineer who's been working to develop factor eight.

"In the past, factor eight has been derived from donor human plasma. With the problems of disease transmission, and as well as the shortages that have occurred in whole blood donations and blood plasma donations, it was very difficult to treat hemophilia."

For years, viruses such as hepatitis and HIV have been transmitted to hemophiliacs through treatment with human blood plasma. Scientists tell us that these viruses could not be contracted from a plant derived medium. What's more, the plant protein could provide a cheaper and more reliable source of this crucial component of our blood.

"Currently, it costs about 2 million dollars to produce a gram of coagulation factor 8. Because of that cost constraint factor eight is underperscribed. With plant cell technology, feasibly we could raise up the world's supply of human coagulation factor eight within a single greenhouse. "

Well you can now hear some of your favorite Pulse of the Planet programs again online at nationalgeographic.com Pulse of the Planet is presented by DuPont, bringing you the miracles of science, with additional support provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.