Biotech Farm in Charlton, MA, Creates Human Medicine from Genetically Engineered Goat's Milk
Biotech farm, GTC Biotheraputics, in Charlton, MA, has a herd of over 600 goats, most of whom are genetically engineered to produce milk rich in human proteins that will be used to create medicine to treat cancer and autoimmune diseases in humans.
Developing dairy animals that produce milk loaded with therapeutic molecules requires cutting-edge laboratory skill and old-fashioned, albeit meticulous, livestock management.GTC starts by linking genetic material for a desired human protein with genetic material related to milk production. Scientists add the “transgene” to a goat cell, then fuse the cell with an empty goat egg. The egg goes into a female goat. If the procedure works, five months later the surrogate goat mother produces a kid carrying the extra gene. This kid becomes the “founder” for a new herd of dairy goats.