Molecular farming of pharmaceutical proteins
Molecular farming is the production of pharmaceutically important and commercially valuable proteins in plants. Its purpose is to provide a safe and inexpensive means for the mass production of recombinant pharmaceutical proteins. Complex mammalian proteins can be produced in transformed plants or transformed plant suspension cells. Plants are suitable for the production of pharmaceutical proteins on a field scale because the expressed proteins are functional and almost indistinguishable from their mammalian counterparts. The breadth of therapeutic proteins produced by plants range from interleukins to recombinant antibodies. Molecular farming in plants has the potential to provide virtually unlimited quantities of recombinant proteins for use as diagnostic and therapeutic tools in health care and the life sciences. Plants produce a large amount of biomass and protein production can be increased using plant suspension cell culture in fermenters, or by the propagation of stably transformed plant lines in the field. Transgenic plants can also produce organs rich in a recombinant protein for its long-term storage. This demonstrates the promise of using transgenic plants as bioreactors for the molecular farming of recombinant therapeutics, including vaccines, diagnostics, such as recombinant antibodies, plasma proteins, cytokines and growth factors.