To produce the painkillers of the future, the pharmaceutical industry’s sterile infrastructure will no longer be necessary. The barn of a dairy farm is just as suitable if the cows housed in it are endowed with new features. The idea of this Dublin-based team is to transform the bovine organism into a living bioreactor to produce complete and effective medications that can be milked right from the cow’s udder. The first step is to isolate the gene of the painkiller opiorphin from human saliva. Then it’s cultivated and injected into a fertilized egg cell of the bovine recipient. When the calf to which it gives birth grows to an adult cow, the painkiller is contained in its milk, which can also be processed into dairy products like cheese and yogurt.
Credits: Teresa Dillion (IE), Naomi Griffin-Murtagh (IE), Claire Dempsey (IE), Aisling McCrudden (IE), Science Gallery, 2013