New CAST Publication Suggests that Human Health May Be a "Different Animal"

May 14, 2007

For Immediate Release                                                       
CAST Paper Examines the Role of Transgenic Livestock in the Treatment of Human Disease
May 14, 2007…Washington, D.C. The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) is releasing a new Issue Paper, The Role of Transgenic Livestock in the Treatment of Human Disease. Written and reviewed by a six-member task force, this paper is Part 6 in the CAST series on “Animal Agriculture’s Future through Biotechnology.”
            Transgenic livestock have the potential to play a critical role in the production of new medications for the treatment of human disease.  According to Task Force Chair Carol L. Keefer, University of Maryland, “This role may consist of the actual production of recombinant proteins, including biotherapeutic proteins and antibodies, or it may involve the development of new animal models that can be used in studies relating to human diseases. Both approaches can provide significant advances in the development of new treatments.”          
            Specific topics covered in the paper include:
·        Methods of transgenic animal production, including pronuclear microinjection and somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT)
·        Recent developments in SCNT-based gene transfer technologies, including gene targeting and transchromosomic technology
·        Transgenic animals as disease models for the development of new treatments
·        Transgenic livestock as producers of new medications, including biopharming, bioproducts from milk, and bioproducts from serum
·        Economic and regulatory issues
·        Societal issues
·        An in-depth description of the steps involved in producing transgenic animals by SCNT (Appendix 1.)
 “As scientists continue to perfect technologies in the near future, more applications of transgenic animals for the treatment of human diseases will become available,” concludes CAST Executive Vice President John Bonner. “The new CAST Issue Paper suggests that education regarding the advantages and challenges associated with this new technology is the key to public understanding, and CAST is pleased to be part of that effort by providing this important contribution to the scientific literature.”
The full text of the paper The Role of Transgenic Livestock in the Treatment of Human Disease (Issue Paper No. 35) may be accessed on the CAST website at, along with many of CAST’s other scientific publications, and is available in hardcopy for $5.00 (includes shipping) by contacting the CAST office at 515-292-2125. CAST is an international consortium of 37 scientific and professional societies. It assembles, interprets, and communicates credible science-based information regionally, nationally, and internationally to legislators, regulators, policymakers, the media, the private sector, and the public.
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Dr. Carol L. Keefer: Phone: 301-405-3933; E-mail:
Dr. John M. Bonner: Phone: 515-292-2125, ext. 25; E-mail: