A variety of health conditions, including some autoimmune diseases and cancer, have been increasingly treated with therapeutic antibodies. At this time, conventionally available antibody treatments involve injections directly into the bloodstream, an invasive method that could include systemic side effects. However, that may change in the near future, thanks to a new technology to develop edible antibodies.
Until now, oral ingestion of therapeutic antibodies has not been possible due to damage caused by digestion. The newly engineered antibody format allows treatments to survive the digestion process, making it possible to treat bowel-related conditions with local administration instead of injections.
The manufacturing process used to produce these edible antibodies uses yeast cells or soybeans and food processing technology that already exists. According to an advertisement that details the technology, the manufacturing process is as "simple" as the manufacture of any other food.
The treatment is in the form of a powder containing antibodies that the patient, human or animal, consumes. The powder does not have to be put in capsules; In fact, it can be mixed directly with food. The treatment was tested on piglets, which are generally susceptible to diarrhea caused by Escherichia coli. Antibiotics are the typical treatment for this problem, but the piglets were apparently protected from infection when fed with edible antibodies.
However, dust can not be limited to veterinary use only. Pigs and humans have similar digestive systems, indicating that edible antibodies can be a future treatment for a range of human intestinal conditions, as well as a preventive method to fight infections and, potentially, reduce outbreaks of intestinal diseases in populations vulnerable.