Recombinant proteins made from human blood!

Recombinant proteins made from human blood!

Personalized medicine has incredible potential, but current approaches are still too expensive and time-consuming to have a big impact. A new paper in Scientific Reports looks at how to extract cellular protein synthesis machinery from human blood, and, by adding recombinant DNA to the extract, to produce therapeutic proteins within two hours.

Several groups have recently reported on the utility of cell-free expression systems to make therapeutic proteins, most of them employing CHO or E. coli cell-free extracts.

Authors in this study propose an alternative that uses human blood derived leukocyte cell extracts for the expression of recombinant proteins. They demonstrate expression of nano luciferase (Nluc), Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) and Erythropoietin (EPO) in cell-free leukocyte extracts within two hours.

Human blood is readily available from donors and blood banks and leukocyte rich fractions are easy to obtain. The method described here demonstrates the ability to rapidly express recombinant proteins from human cell extracts that could provide the research community with a facile technology to make their target protein. Eventually, authors envision that any recombinant protein can be produced from patient-supplied leukocytes, which can then be injected back into the patient. 

One of the authors of the paper describes this research as a milestone in personalized medicine and notes that the team's goal is to "allow anyone's blood to be used to make medicines, treatments, and vaccines specifically for them."