Geese May Hold Cure for West Nile Cancer

A biotech company in based in North Dakota is developing a serum derived from geese, which they hope would treat everything from rabies to malaria, even cancer.

The serum was originally intended to protect people from the West Nile virus, but research group Avianax discovered that this serum may have the potential to treat a wide variety of illnesses.

Researchers found that geese can quickly produce antibodies after being exposed to a dead virus of any given disease. The antibody is then extracted from its egg yolk and used to create a serum to treat that particular disease.

“We have gone into researching its use of their antibodies for dengue fever, for pandemic influenza, malaria, rabies,” said Richard Glynn, a former goose farm manager who now heads Avianax. “We’re also working with a group on cancer.”

Glynn discovered this potential medical breakthrough in the summer of 2002, when Schiltz Farms in South Dakota suffered massive deaths among its geese due to West Nile virus. Glynn, who was the farm’s business manager at the time, noticed that geese who survived West Nile are super resistant to the virus. Schiltz Farms coordinated with veterinarians to collect antibodies from the blood of surviving geese.

The antibodies were then treated on the farm’s geese in 2004 and death loss due to West Nile dropped dramatically from 34,000 in 2002 to less than 2,000 in 2004.

Collaborating on the research is Dr. David Bradley, head of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at University of North Dakota. According to Bradley, goose antibodies is safe than antibodies produced by most mammals, which cause inflammation as the human body tries to fight off the foreign antibody.

Researchers at Avianax anticipate human trials within a couple of years.

Source: Minnesota Public Radio
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