May 1, 2012 in Green Bling
The US Food & Drug Administration made history today, approving, for the first time ever, a drug made inside a plant. The plant in this case is a garden staple–the carrot! The new drug, Elelyso, will be used to treat patients suffering from Gaucher disease, “which causes problems ranging from bone infections to anemia,” as reported by Nature.com.
People with Gaucher’s disease lack a certain enzyme. Isreali scientists at Protalix Biotherapeutics have devised a way to produce that missing enzyme inside the cells of carrots. ”Bio-pharming” advocates are ecstatic about the news. Scientists have had the ability to create human enzymes from plants for more than a decade now. But tight FDA restriction have always presented a major hurdle in bringing these new drugs to market.
Reasearchers, pharmaceuticals and farmers alike are cheering today’s FDA approval, and hope it will open the door for an entire new market of plant-based medicines and therapies. Protaliz has a whole array of carrot-based drugs in the works, including a protein that treats Fabray disease, and are excited about the opportunities to expand their research. Read more…