2014, pp 263-276
Date: 07 Jun 2014

Production of Medicines from Engineered Proteins in Plants: Proteins for a New Century

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Abstract

Recombinant proteins have already delivered major benefits to human health in the relatively short time they have been available. Plant-based production strategies for these proteins—sometimes called molecular pharming—are becoming widespread and offer major utility, as well as overcoming some of the drawbacks of microbial and mammalian production systems. Flexible and rapid engineering methods, combined with benefits of high volume expression for protein isolation, or seed-based long-term storage, offer many options for medically-relevant protein production with direct benefits for people who need to use them. Metabolic and infectious disease treatments are among the early targets, but cancer treatment, circulatory aliments, allergy reduction, and wound repair and tissue regeneration support may result from proteins produced in plant systems. Selected samples of projects are provided to illustrate the current directions, including the first FDA approved recombinant plant drug to treat a disease. Other examples of projects aimed at communicable diseases, cancer, heart disease, and wound repair are included. When safety and efficacy are demonstrated, and with adherence to appropriate regulatory and biosafety frameworks, plant-derived recombinant proteins may offer high-volume and cost-effective delivery systems for many medical applications in this century.