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Factor H, a key component of the immune system that is missing in patients suffering from atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) was effectively produced in the moss Physcomitrella patens. In collaboration with the University of Freiburg, Greenovation now aims to humanize the protein to suit it for clinical use.
The complement system is part of the innate immune system, with the mission to eliminate pathogens from an organism. In healthy people, the system helps recognize foreign compounds without enabling the long-winded formation of antibodies.
However, when not regulated strictly, the cell lysis provoking system can turn on endogenous cells. This happens to patients with atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), an extremely rare, chronic disease that leads to kidney failure.
In approximately 10 to 30% of cases, aHUS is caused by the mutation of the recombinant factor H, a negative regulator of the complement system that helps prevent autoimmune attacks.
Nowadays, the disease is treated with plasma donation, kidney transplantation and, since 2011, with eculizumab, a monoclonal antibody that serves as an inhibitor of the complement system. The only downside to this treatment is that the antibody is one of the most expensive drug on Earth…
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