The genetic engineering of animals can produce animals that are resistant to deadly diseases, reduce their carbon footprint, and produce proteins used in human pharmaceuticals and other health therapies. The field, still in its early stages a few years ago, has undergone some dramatic changes in the last several years.
For example, in June 2008, BIO released a report at its International Convention. The report, Genetically Engineered Animals and Public Health – Compelling Benefits for Health Care, Nutrition, the Environment and Animal Welfare, discusses how GE animals enhance human health, food production, environmental protection, animal health and provide cutting-edge industrial applications. Specifically it addressed the regulatory environment at the end of its executive summary stating,
“Today, there are more than two dozen drugs in development derived through the genetic engineering of farm animals, and numerous agricultural animal applications with beneficial environmental and husbandry attributes suitable for commercialization. But so far, the practical benefits of this technology have not reached American patients and consumers, owing to regulatory and political obstacles rather than scientific limitations. The public health benefits can only be realized when we create the regulatory framework for governing how these animals can provide human health, environmental and food and agricultural benefits. Establishing a predictable, rigorous, science-based regulatory pathway is essential if this technology is going to be allowed to deliver practical benefits in the areas that the science of genetic engineering of agricultural animals is now enabling.”
Then in September 2008 FDA released its draft regulatory guidance for genetically engineered animals and their products —a sign that the industry was maturing. The final guidance was issued in January 2009.
“The publication of FDA’s regulatory guidance was a huge milestone,” says Dr. David Edwards, Director of Animal Biotechnology at BIO.
Now, to keep human health researchers, animal health researchers, regulators, drug and vaccine developers, biomedical device makers, animal disease model developers, and xenotransplantation specialists all on the same page, BIO is launching its first-ever Livestock Biotech Summit to be held September 28-30 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center in South Dakota.
The program will include a day and a half on the “Care of Livestock in Biomedical and Agricultural Research” and another day and a half on “Genetic Engineering of Ag Animals-Bridging to New Technologies,” which will include expert panels discussing topics such as biopharming, animal stewardship, products in the pipeline, research funding, and the regulatory process.
“We are very excited about the experts speaking at this meeting,” said Dr. Edwards, “We think that the attendees will find the program exciting and the opportunities to network excellent.”
To register for the conference visit the Livestock Biotech Summit website.