• Short Summary

    A United States pharmaceutical company says it can produce enough of the anti-virus agent interferon to allow it to be clinically tested on cancer patients.

  • Description

    CU PULL BACK TO SV Laboratory technician at High Wycombe taking rods containing stocks of human fibroblast cells from container of liquid nitrogen

    CU Ampule containing cells being warmed in beaker (3 shots)

    SV Cell stock poured into Roux bottles

    SV Initial growth stage of cell stocks taking place in Roux bottles

    CU AND SV Carbon dioxide injection before closing off bottle (5 shots)

    SV Second stage of production: partially filling 20-litre bottles with culture medium (3 shots)

    SV Technician monitoring conditions within 200-litre vessel

    SV Researcher reading monitoring instruments which show conditions inside

    CU Micro-photography showing fibroblast cell

    Scientists hope fibroblast interferon will prove effective in treating cancer, as well as other viral infections, such as hepatitis, herpes and colds.

    Initials SW/


    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: A United States pharmaceutical company says it can produce enough of the anti-virus agent interferon to allow it to be clinically tested on cancer patients. While testing will go on in American hospitals, the fibroblast interferon will be produced at the research unit of the G.D. Searle Company in High Wycombe, England, where the following film was shot. Interferon has already been highly effective in combating a wide range of viruses.

    SYNOPSIS: Interferon is a protein fond in human blood, and is secreted by most healthy cells, when infected by virus. Here a technician takes rods containing stocks of human fibroblast cells from a container of liquid oxygen, where they've ben kept in a frozen state.

    An ampule with cells in it is then warmed up. Interferon fibroblast, first identified twenty-three years ago, acts as a defence against disease. While it exists in creatures other than man, it can't be transferred from one species to another.

    Now the cell stock is poured into Roux bottles, which contain something called growth medium. This encourages the interferon cells to reproduce further, and the bottles have large surfaces for the cells to grow upon. The company say it's developed a new method to produce interferon from human tissue cells. It's called the `stack plate fermentation system'.

    Before the bottle is closed, carbon dioxide is passed inside to ensure proper conditions for growth. The makers say the new method produces about sixty times more interferon than previous methods--and more cheaply. Before now, they'd needed to draw off the agent from sixty-five thousand pints of blood to gather one hundred milligrams, about one three-hundredth of an ounce. Research had concentrated on finding a way to stimulate production outside the human body.

    In the second stage of production, twenty litre bottles are partly filled with a culture medium, which is inoculated with cells from the Roux bottles. The new bottles are continually rolled as human interferon keeps on growing on their inside surfaces.

    Then cell production is stepped up by stacking hundreds of stainless steel plates inside two-hundred litre containers to which the cells cling. Through-out an eight-day cycle, the technicians can harvest two hundred million units of interferon from each two hundred litre vessel, and just under three and a half million units from the twenty litre bottles. The researchers check instruments to note the conditions inside--temperature and levels of acidity and oxygen. They also add chemical agents to synthesise the interferon in the cells. The company's research and development division in New York says it will begin next month to test interferon on thirty patients in two American hospitals.

    If clinical tests work, the drug would have to be extensively tested for another four years before the American government would approve its commercial use.

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