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Author Topic: Can drugs be made by adding the DNA encoding them to animals?  (Read 2836 times)

Offline Szostak

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Hi, i was wondering, if we can already apply methods like Translating Chemical Compounds (like Drugs) into DNA code (ATCG sequences) and then replace this sequence in some living animal, so it may start synthetize the previous applied code, therefore building the chemical compounds (perhaps proteins) we would need, for like genetic diseases, i.g. those that can't produce a important protein for body maintence.

I hope i made myself clear (i do know english, it's just that i did teach myself, so, i do know the words and stuff, but sometimes i misplace the order of verbs, noun, and bleh (i hate this, Portuguese is so full of rules, it's boring).) Anyway, if you didn't get it, i may simplify it, thanks!
« Last Edit: 23/09/2013 22:10:34 by chris »


 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: About Biotecnology.
« Reply #1 on: 21/09/2013 23:52:17 »
That is how we make hormones like insulin. We used to get it from pigs but now we manufacture human insulin from genetically engineered microorganisms.

Your English is excellent! English has unusual phrases. If someone says something that does not make sense, just ask them to say it in a different way. Most people will be happy to do so.
« Last Edit: 22/09/2013 00:01:35 by cheryl j »
 

Offline Szostak

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Re: About Biotecnology.
« Reply #2 on: 22/09/2013 01:04:01 »
Thanks a lot Cheryl j, ye, sometimes it's hard to make myself clear, but different tries will end up filling it's holes.

Oh, i thought Insulin went by a different process, i thought it was taken from Dogs.

Btw, to do genetic engineering, will i need fancy equipments? I guess i will, right? Cuz bioinformatics along with genetic engineering seems real nice.

I'm still on the Second Semester out of Eight. And i'd like to prepare myself for some real nice experiment, something that would take me from a private university to a public, or at least satisfy my profissional needs (contribute with something, as small as it is). It's boring to see my mates researching about known things already, i'd like to go further.

Thanks a lot again Cheryl!
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: About Biotecnology.
« Reply #3 on: 22/09/2013 01:34:50 »
Yes, there are a lot of naturally derived "drugs".  For example Insulin as mentioned.  Ideally one would be able to engineer antibody resistant beta cells, and implant them in the body (not necessarily in the pancreas), but I don't think we're quite there yet.

Penicillin is also a naturally derived drug (without genetic modifications), although the drug may be chemically modified for easier dosing.  I don't know if they could modify the fungi to make similar drugs such as amoxicillin. 

Likewise salicylic acid can be extracted from willow, but aspirin is a chemically modified version, acetylsalicylic acid.

As far as what you can do in a small lab????
Genetic Modification may be a big bite to chew off.
Assuming you are at the university, perhaps you should talk to some of the labs about getting a summer internship.

You may be able to purify something like penicillin, or salicylic acid from the organisms naturally producing them, on a small budget.

Viruses such as the flu virus (influenza) are often reproduced in chicken eggs, then inactivated and made in a vaccine.  Potentially you could produce some influenza vaccine in a small laboratory (although I'm not sure I'd inject myself with my homebrew vaccine).

Antibodies can also be important in medicine.  For example injecting snake venom into a host, then later recovering the antibodies to the snake venom.
 

Offline Szostak

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Re: About Biotecnology.
« Reply #4 on: 22/09/2013 02:25:52 »
Thanks for your Answer CliffordK.

I didn't have Immunology yet, so i don't know perfectly how it works yet. But in my first semester (to be honest, within 2 months) i went to a lecture about Cancer Vaccines, and it was quite interesting, the spokesman was using dendritic cells to cure some sort of cancer (i guess it was a skin cancer, can't remember exactly which one it was). It worked on mices, but not on humans, he also noticed that when producing those dendritic cells, they were in a better shape in his university lab, rather than where he was doing a similar research (the centrifuge shaking the table didn't add with a good structure on those cells, making them look ugly and perhaps a bit ineffective).

Will any toxin produce antibodies? or just organic toxins (like snakes)? If they don't produce antibodies, then the body will try to expell the poison from the host body, like vomiting and diarrhea, right?

Do antibodies need a host (animal)? or do they work in a cell culture environment like petri's "plate"?

I really like this forum, i have a lots of insights, even though most of them might be totally wrong, which is also good, as you guys will teach me even more!

 

Offline evan_au

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Re: About Biotecnology.
« Reply #5 on: 22/09/2013 04:58:39 »
In the human body, large proteins are often made in several pieces, and then folded and stitched together by other proteins & enzymes. There are multiple genes involved in manufacturing the target protein, from raw materials already produced in the cell. There are often multiple regulatory factors which control how much of each component are produced.

Transferring this entire production chain to a yeast or a fungus becomes much more complex when the genetic instructions occur in multiple pieces like this.

There is also the difficulty that the raw materials may not be available in the right concentrations in this "foreign" cell, and there is a limited amount of extra genetic information you can add to a bacterium before it becomes larger than the bacterial DNA.

Genetric engineering is a rapidly advancing field, and more advanced techniques are continually being developed. But there are still major problems to be overcome.

I think that eventually home DNA-sequencing systems will become available, and eventually home DNA synthesis kits. But it will take a few years, and there is always the concern that these may be used by teenagers or terrorists who don't realise that biological weapons know no boundaries - they will attack everyone.

There is also another slight problem if you attempt to manufacture antibacterial proteins in a bacterium - if you succeed, you fail!
 

Offline Szostak

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Re: About Biotecnology.
« Reply #6 on: 22/09/2013 06:03:23 »
Thanks for the heads up evan_au but, why will i fail if i succeed? I know that they're having multiple problems with synthetizing antibiotics as efficient as penicilin, but what exactly would i go through if i "succeed" manufacturing antibacterial proteins?
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: About Biotecnology.
« Reply #7 on: 22/09/2013 07:07:25 »
There is also another slight problem if you attempt to manufacture antibacterial proteins in a bacterium - if you succeed, you fail!
Cute!!!!

The point is that (in general), you can't manufacture something inside of a bacterium that will kill that same bacterium.  But, as in the case of Penicillin, mold will produce bacteria toxic chemicals just fine.  There are also several distinct types of bacteria, so one may be able to grow Gram Positive toxins in Gram Negative bacteria, or visa versa.   

Insulin is actually quite a large, multi-part protein (which is why it must be injected).  So, the technology for making recombinant insulin could be used for other producing other proteins, or perhaps even smaller molecules such as vitamins. 

I'm not sure why they've chosen goats, but apparently some scientists are using genetically modified goats to produce spider silk in their milk. 


All it needs is the red suit!!!!
 

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Re: About Biotecnology.
« Reply #7 on: 22/09/2013 07:07:25 »

 

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