Biotechnology of drugs on the verge of 21st century
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At present most classical pharmaceutical technologies reach high level of industrial perfection. The best example of those achievements is the biotechnology of penicillins. Biosynthetic penicillin production using highly productive strains of Penicillium chrysogenum is followed by an enzymatic hydrolysis of the product using microbial penicillin acylase, the best sources of which are recombinant strains of Escherichia coli. The resulting aminopenicillanic acid is the starting material for chemical synthesis of a large number of semisynthetic penicillins. Research and development of the biotechnology of antibiotics created solid fundamentals for other biotechnological processes in the pharmaceutical industry, i.e. production of amino acids, organic acids, enzymes and enzyme inhibitors, vitamins, alkaloids, dextran, steroid drugs and others. In addition to the continuous improvement of the classical technology completely new bioprocesses were introduced to the pharmaceutical industry in the recent years as a result of unprecedented progress in genetic engineering, hybridoma techniques and cell cultures in vitro. The new group of polypeptide/protein biopharmaceuticals includes peptide hormones (e.g. insulin, growth hormones, gonadotropins), growth factors (e.g. insulin-like growth factors, epidermal growth factors), haematopoietic growth factors (e.g. erythropoietin, colony stimulating factors), blood proteins (e.g. clotting factors VIII, IX, XII and XIII, tissue plasminogen activator, streptokinase), cytokines (e.g. interferons, interleukines and tumor necrosis factor) and monoclonal antibodies. Another new area of genetic engineering and biotechnology is the production of nucleic acid drugs, which are proposed for both gene and antisense therapy.
Publication order reference
A. Chmiel, Samodzielna pracownia Biosyntezy Srodkow Leczniczych, Akademia Medyczna, ul. Muszynskiego 1, 90-151 Lodz, Poland