Unprecedented financial support lent to healthcare
For the first time in the world, Belarusian and Russian scientists extract unique, multi-functional human protein lactoferrin from transgenic goats’ milk: a natural antibiotic
All efforts are now focused on developing industrial technologies to manufacture pharmaceutical drugs and food supplements containing the medicinal protein of lactoferrin, as part of the new BelRosFarm Union State programme.
The third stage of the BelRosTransgen programme aims to strengthen the health of future generations, explains the Head of the Biochemistry Department at the Belarusian State University, Igor Semak. He tells us, “Lactoferrin is a unique, multi-functional protein with antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help the human body protect against infection at all ages. Lactoferrin from the milk of transgenic goats can be used in pharmaceutical drugs and cosmetics, as well as in the food industry. The protein even naturally increases testosterone levels, making it ideal for athletes.”
Medicines and dietary supplements containing lactoferrin help stabilise the metabolism, as well as curing diseases affecting the eyes, skin and digestive system. They can also be used to boost the immune system after chemotherapy treatment and, for children, lactoferrin is a natural replacement for breast milk.
The second phase of the BelRosTransgen programme has dealt with the breeding of the special goats. During the lactation period, milk may contain 18 to 20 grams of lactoferrin per litre, although the average ranges from 5 to 6 grams (still the highest indicator in the world). Up to 70 percent of protein from transgenic goats’ milk can be extracted and is utterly safe for human use, being identical to that found in our breast milk. Trials and tests are now being conducted, so that the protein can receive certification, and a full list of products open to use of lactoferrin is being compiled.
Alexander Budevich, who heads Reproduction and Genetic Engineering of Farm Animals Laboratory at the Biological Selection Centre, tells us, “Commercial production of pharmaceutical goods will be decided by pharmaceutical companies, as in Russia. If all goes well, by 2015, we’ll be able to release large amounts of lactoferrin for commercial use. Currently, the Belarusian State University is overseeing everything but, in future, industrial production will expand.” Belarus and Russia have agreed to assign production to particular manufacturers, as well as launching joint product of lactoferrin as part of BelRosTransgen Stage 2 and 3.
The production of other human proteins is also being investigated, as Mr. Budevich notes. “Work continues to produce new proteins from animal milk within the BelRosFarm programme.”
The Permanent Committee of the Belarusian-Russian Union State is collaborating with the Minsk Office of the Permanent Committee regarding the commercial prospects of the innovation, with Union State funds helping extend research. For the first time in Belarus and Russia, the full implementation of all phases of the BelRosTransgen programme will allow production of completely unique pharmaceutical products and food supplements containing medicinal protein, as seen nowhere else around the globe.