Fundacja na Rzecz Rozwoju Biotechnologii i Genetyki POLBIOGEN
ul. Jugosłowiańska 57, 60-159 Poznań

Fundacja na Rzecz Rozwoju Biotechnologii i Genetyki
POLBIOGEN jest niezależną, samodzielną finansowo
instytucją powołaną do pełnienia misji wspierania
biotechnologii i genetyki oraz realizowania projektów
badawczych w tych dziedzinach.

Undertakings

The examples of undertakings which need to be rapidly developed and expanded include:
1.    Production of new drugs with the assistance of microorganisms. At the present time, modified microorganisms are widely employed for medical purposes. They can be used to obtain important and valuable hormonal and enzymatic preparations (e.g. insulin, growth hormone, amylases, lipases etc.) as well as antibodies, vaccines and many biologically active substances. It is possible to manufacture, for therapeutic purposes, chimeric proteins which are combinations of human and mice proteins. These proteins can be used, first and foremost, to treat such illnesses as: mucoviscosidosis, hemophilia, osteoporosis, rheumatism or infections with the HIV virus. Investigations are under way on the gene therapy which introduces appropriate genes in people with gene mutations. Possibilities of the biotechnological involvement in the process of obtaining therapeutic proteins is of huge importance because, until recently, such proteins could only be obtained in small quantities from animals or people who, simultaneously, could have acted as sources of infections with human or animal diseases (CJD, AIDS, type B viral inflammation of the liver).

2.    Manufacture of biologically active substances of pharmaceutical significance. One of the examples, in this area, can be the human growth hormone. The demand for this hormone has been growing steadily in recent years accompanied by stable expansion of the possibilities of its utilization. In Poland, several years ago rabbits were successfully bred which are capable of manufacturing the human growth hormone in milk. One female can produce up to 10 l of milk a year. The hormone manufactured in this way is identical with the human growth hormone because the milk gland in mammals manufactures hormone with all modifications taking place in humans. Employing transgenic animals, it is also possible to obtain monoclonal antibodies essential for the production of vaccines.

3.    Obtaining tissues and organs for human transplants. One of the examples is pigs which were obtained in Poland and whose cells exhibit reduced immunogenicity in humans. The deficit of organs for transplantation increases every year resulting in deaths of patients on the lists waiting for transplants. Intensive investigations are in progress on stem cells but, at the present stage of investigations, cells obtained from animals can find faster application. Xenotransplantation need not be the ultimate solution; however, it may provide many life-saving organs for thousands of patients waiting for the transplantation of the target organ.

4.    Biotechnology of animal reproduction. This branch is developing very rapidly and exerts a considerable influence on food production and on the price of food articles of animal origin. Major areas of research include: changes in the composition of carcasses or milk so as to make them more assimilable by humans, increased production output and the rate of body weight gains. Investigations focus on the modifications of animal digestion and metabolism. Another important issue is associated with obtaining animals resistant to specific diseases or reduction in the number of spontaneous abortions of fetuses and deaths of young animals. The new approaches are associated with possibilities of obtaining animals which are more environmentally friendly and novel directions in this area of exploration are only in the phase of research and development.

5.    Modification of milk composition with the aim to enhance its energetic, antibacterial and anti-allergic properties. Polish researches have already bred successfully goats which are capable of manufacturing in their milk glands oligosaccharides which, on the one hand, improve energetic properties and, on the other, ensure protection against bacterial and virus infections. Additionally, modified milk can provide a source of proteins used as vaccines and for desensitization.

6.    Within the framework of its own program, the Foundation intends to improve sage (Salvia officinalis L.) applied very widely in agents used for oral hygiene. Among major health problems which are very common in children, teenagers but also adults are caries and parodontopathy. It was demonstrated that caries can have a negative effect not only on the condition of the oral cavity but also on the entire organism. One of the main factors causing the development of caries is the presence of the Streptococcus mutans bacteria. The aim of the project is to introduce into sage plats fragments of bacterial protein. The opening perspective of the efficient production of the Streptococcus mutans bacteria in plant cells provides an opportunity to combine their immunogenic properties with the advantageous effect of the active sage constituents and to obtain an effective vaccine against caries. Until now, investigations of this type have not been carried out in Poland and this is the first attempt to develop an effective vaccine for the local immunization to be applied in the form of a preparation to be used for oral hygiene. The obtained results will constitute the basis allowing the initiation of pharmacological and clinical investigations to assess the effectiveness of the vaccine against caries. The research objective will be achieved by the expression in a bacterial system in which the structural appropriateness of the recombinant antigens will be assessed. Moreover, possibilities will be created for possible changes in their structure in order to obtain a better immunological response. The application of improved sage may be of huge importance because sage belongs to plants commonly used both in the prophylaxis as well as treatment of parodontopathy, chronic inflammation of the mucous membrane, inflammation of the oral cavity. The efficient protein production in plant cells combines their immunogenic properties with the beneficial effect of the sage active constituents on the parodontopathy. Thanks to these investigations, it will be possible to obtain an effective vaccine for the local immunization in the form of an anti-carries preparation for the hygiene of the oral cavity. The improved plants will allow initial pharmacological and clinical investigations on the efficiency of the anti-carries preparation for the hygiene of the mouth and preparation of a biotechnological research- development project.

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