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Is Biotech Creating New Incurable Diseases Accidentally?

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posted on Dec, 22 2006 @ 11:48 AM
Even when engineered mutations do not change amino acids, they cause proteins to misfold - which can change the proteins' functions in unexpected ways. Recently released research from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland confirms the misfolding effect, and for the first time, reports finding it in mammals. Misfolded proteins can create incurable diseases, and the phenomenon is causing renewed, but muted concern in the scientific world.
A mutation in a human gene that does not change the resulting amino acid can nevertheless change a protein's function, according to an online report from Science. The research marks the first time that the phenomenon has been confirmed in mammals.

"The habit we all have of disregarding nucleotide changes that don't change protein sequence may not be a good one," coauthor Michael Gottesman at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., told The Scientist. "This may be a generalizable phenomenon that may lead to changes in function we haven't been thinking about."

Gottesman and his colleagues investigated MDR1, which encodes P-gp, a human membrane transport protein that helps cells pump out anticancer and other drugs. They focused on the C3435T, a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) that is synonymous or silent, encoding for the same amino acid as the gene's wild-type version.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Ignoring industrial processes that accidentally create misfolded proteins, most industries now use biotechnology and nanotechnology products. These products, such as chemicals, are manufactured by genetically engineered organisms.

Genetic engineering purposefully manipulates proteins, causing them to misfold and create organisms that manufacture various engineered products. But misfolded proteins have the ability to become infectious - and go places and do things no one planned to happen. Like cause new diseases.

The most well-known disease caused by a misfolded infectious protein (a prion) is Mad Cow disease - but now, we suddenly have legions of prion-related diseases spreading around the world.

Wonder why?

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[edit on 22/12/2006 by Mirthful Me]

posted on Dec, 22 2006 @ 02:03 PM
As conspiracy theorists, we all know that diseases have been purposefully created as biological weapons. Some target specific races, some are designed to decimate armies, and others are for wiping out working civilian populations.

We all know that bioweapons can escape, mutate, run amok and have 'unplanned' effects.

But new industrial processes routinely create disease-causing misfolded proteins. And it's a whole new ballgame.

The conspiracy here is one of silence.

So who benefits?

posted on Dec, 22 2006 @ 09:03 PM
There is an interesting - and rather cutting - comment on this article posted at New Scientist.

Dr. Richard N. Sifers, Ph.D. says it's common knowledge that folded proteins (not genes) are directly responsible for biological activity. Nothing new here, he says, but maybe this article will help kill off genomics so we can get back to the study of disease.

Comment on this news story posted on The New Scientist online by [/url]

...the conclusion is novel only to those not familiar with the field of "proteins" or their translation or conformational maturation. has always been accepted that folded protein, not the gene, directly transmits inherited information into biological activity.

...At least the referenced article might help continue the demise of the genomics era so we can return to the study of disease, and not merely focus on the inheritance of stored information.

All true - but for some reason, talking openly about misfolded proteins is taboo. Even though most diseases involve misfolded proteins.

posted on Dec, 23 2006 @ 06:30 AM
I vaguely remember debating this very problem a few months ago

the reason for universal silence is probably a combination of fear and simple ignorance. people don't know about (newly created, still unknown variants) prions or how to spot them and if they have a vague idea they will face an uphill battle making the problems known.

noone likes bad news, especially the management, so people are either fired or silenced.

we are walking the maze with blinders on and ignoring the dangers is very modern and cool these days.

when # hits the fan who will be left to shift blame around?

Hail to the Ants, i guess.

posted on Dec, 23 2006 @ 11:29 AM
Thanks for that link LongLance.

Something that's NEVER talked about publicly - pharmaceutical companies have been targeting proteins since Pauling described actin's a and b conformations in 1950.

"Proteinology" was the big profession for microbiologists before genetics, proteomics and genomics got hot - and the only jobs were with drug companies.

There is NO doubt that most drugs target proteins, and cause them to misfold.

Yet another source of misfolded proteins, and cause of new diseases.

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