A new report from the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, titled "The Role of Transgenic Livestock in the Treatment of Human Disease," says transgenic livestock have the potential to produce new medications for the treatment of human disease. 

Written and reviewed by a six-member task force, this paper is Part 6 in the CAST series on “Animal Agriculture’s Future through Biotechnology.”

Transgenic livestock have the potential to play a critical role in the production of new medications for the treatment of human disease. According to Task Force Chair Carol L. Keefer, University of Maryland, “This role may consist of the actual production of recombinant proteins, including biotherapeutic proteins and antibodies, or it may involve the development of new animal models that can be used in studies relating to human diseases. Both approaches can provide significant advances in the development of new treatments.”          

Specific topics covered in the paper include:

  • Methods of transgenic animal production, including pronuclear microinjection and somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT)
  • Recent developments in SCNT-based gene transfer technologies, including gene targeting and transchromosomic technology
  • Transgenic animals as disease models for the development of new treatments
  • Transgenic livestock as producers of new medications, including biopharming, bioproducts from milk, and bioproducts from serum
  • Economic and regulatory issues
  • Societal issues
  • An in-depth description of the steps involved in producing transgenic animals by SCNT (Appendix 1.)

 “As scientists continue to perfect technologies in the near future, more applications of transgenic animals for the treatment of human diseases will become available,” says CAST Executive Vice President John Bonner. “The new CAST Issue Paper suggests that education regarding the advantages and challenges associated with this new technology is the key to public understanding, and CAST is pleased to be part of that effort by providing this important contribution to the scientific literature.”

"The Role of Transgenic Livestock in the Treatment of Human Disease" (Issue Paper No. 35) is available in hardcopy for $5 (includes shipping) by contacting the CAST office at 515-292-2125.

CAST, Porkmag.com