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Yeasts Will Save From Rabies
July 28, 2009 21:49

Experts consider rabies to be almost irremediable, killing up to 50 000 people every year. Unfortunately, Russia is not an exception.

Russian scientists from Research Centre of Molecular Diagnostics and Treatment started development of first domestic rabies treatment. Authors expect genetically modified yeasts to help them in their struggle in the form of producing therapeutic antibodies. The only one existing method for curing rabies today is treating a patient with therapeutic antibodies, also known as antirabic immunoglobulins. These antibodies are special proteins, which appear in an organism as a reaction on alien substances (rabies agents, in particular), which enter this organism, and neutralize their harmful effect. When a human being gets infected by rabies, the virus, which first gets into blood, gets inside cells of central nervous system before the organism manages to produce its own antibodies. Antibodies are unable to follow the virus to the nervous cells and kill it there, that is why urgent injection of ready-made antibodies is required.

Until recently anti-rabies agents were produced from purification of immunoglobulins, which were extracted from horse blood serum, but sometimes such agents are not effective enough. This is the reason why ambitious Russian researchers plan their first step towards development of Russian rabies treatment, which is based upon so-called humanized antibodies. Scientists have strong intention to partly modify genotype of antibodies, extracted from mice, by introducing genetic constructions, which are common for human beings. Moreover, scientists claim that new treatment will have reasonable price, since it will be synthesized by means of genetically modified yeasts. The project also includes development of technology for full cycle production of therapeutic antibodies from genetically modified yeasts, which will become a foundation for commercial production of a new treating agent.



A notable fact is that Russian scientists investigate therapeutic antibodies for about 30 years, however, not a single Russian drug, based upon said antibodies, is listed among over twenty such drugs, which are allowed for use all over the world.

As for humanized antibodies, the world already knows at least one drug, based on CR4098 antibody, which was developed in the Crucell company of Netherlands. This drug currently undergoes first stage of clinical trials. In theory, Russian pharmaceutical companies could have bought the license to produce the drug abroad, but, according Russian experts, such contracts usually reach $200 million, which is close to annual turnover of leading domestic pharmaceutical corporations. Therefore, researchers consider creating domestic rabies treatment to be the only alternative to importing such drugs from abroad. The project, which is financially supported by the Russian government with about $400 thousand, is expected to last till September 2010.

Source: Science & Life

Kizilova Anna

Tags: Russian Scientists     

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