n. An antibody produced by a genetically modified plant.
Tobacco, a plant responsible for the death of millions, is also the subject of experiments to produce antibodies, or "plantibodies", against diseases including, ironically, cancer. The stakes are high, with the antibody drug market expected to be worth some pounds 5bn by 2004.
Like the antibodies of an animal's immune system, the plant-made antibodies, which the scientists call "plantibodies," strongly and selectively bind to only one or a few types of molecules. … To get plants to make antibodies, Andrew Hiatt, Robert Cafferkey and Katherine Bowdish of the Research Institute of Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, Calif., use a series of steps to shuttle two mouse genes, which together code for an antibody molecule, into the nuclei of two different tobacco plant cells. Once in their respective cells, the foreign genes become inserted into the cells' own genetic code.
Note that Plantibody ™ is a trademark of Epicyte Pharmaceutical Inc.