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PHARMING. GENETICALLY MODIFIED PLANTS AND ANIMALS AS FUTURE PRODUCTION SITE OF PHARMACEUTICALS? - [German]


Duration:

Jul 2006 - Dec 2008

Funding body:

Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)

Contact:

Dr. phil. Margret Engelhard, Dipl.-Biol.

Wilhelmstr. 56

53474 Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler

Germany

Phone: +49 (0) 2641 973-305

E-Mail: margret.engelhard@ea-aw.de
URL: http://www.ea-aw.de

Head:

Project Coordination:

Dr. phil. Margret Engelhard, Dipl.-Biol., Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler

Member:

Rikke Bagger Jørgensen, Ph.D., Roskilde

Professor Rafael Pardo Avellaneda, Ph.D., Madrid

Professor Dr. jur. Eckhard Rehbinder, Frankfurt

Professor Angelika Schnieke, Ph.D., Weihenstephan

Dr. phil. Margret Engelhard, Dipl.-Biol., Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler (Junior Scientist)

Kristin Hagen, Ph.D., Europäische Akademie, Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler (Junior Scientist)

Dr. med. Felix Thiele, M.Sc., Europäische Akademie, Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler (Head of the Junior Scientist Group)

Short Description:

Pharming is a new branch of biotechnology that uses transgenic plants or animals as living “factories” to produce human or animal pharmaceuticals. The class of drugs manufactured with pharming technology is called biopharmaceuticals. These are pharmaceutical compounds – in most cases therapeutical proteins – that cannot be produced by conventional chemical synthesis. Instead, they can be isolated from biological material (i.e. blood plasma) or they can be produced in living systems. However, the current method to produce biopharmaceuticals by fermenter grown recombinant cell cultures is costly and inefficient. Also, an increasing demand for biopharmaceuticals has caused a shortage in production capacity and first cases of patient-waiting-lists. It is hoped that with pharming the enlargement of production capacities (e.g. growing more transgenic crops or breeding more transgenic animals) may be quicker, cheaper, and more flexible compared to current production processes. In addition, by overcoming technical or financial limitations, pharming may also enable the development of new therapeutic compounds. The potential of pharming is widely judged to be high, both in terms of medical impact and in terms of economic profits. On the other hand, pharming raises a number of ethical, legal and social questions that should be discussed in parallel to its further development. The project will evaluate the potentials and risks of pharming and aims at determining the need and means of legal regulation and policy action for the responsible further development of pharming.

Keywords

animal ethics – animal experimentation – biotechnology – cloning – codes of ethics – environmental ethics – ethics of science – genetic research / engineering – genetically modified animals – genetically modified plants – granting of patents – green gene technology – medical ethics – medical ethos – philosophy of nature – release experiments – technology assessment – technology ethics

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