From: "Paul F. Dietz" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Democrat Platform Devoid of Space Issues
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 2000 19:01:38 -0500
"Michael R. Irwin" wrote:
> > We seem to have plenty of EPO these days, without space factories.
> I am not up to date in this area, I have been assuming the
> early promise stalled because the launch costs have never
> come down and space operations are not routine. Hence
> risk associated with space business has remained high and
> unattractive to pharmaceuticals.
> Have they started mass production using electrophoresis
> techniques on the ground? In order words the g-field
> is no longer a limitation?
They're mass producing EPO, but not using electrophoresis.
It's a protein, and they genetically engineered microorganisms
to produce it in high concentration, much higher than
was produced by the cell cultures that were to be the
source of the material for CFE. The high concentration
material could be purified by conventional techniques.
Upshot: even if launches were much cheaper, it would not
make sense to use CFE to purify this stuff. Alternative
terrestrial technology has made space irrelevant here.
I see protein crystallization going in the same direction,
btw. In the time since the space station got started,
synchrotron x-ray sources have made it unnecessary to
grow large crystals. Small (but still high quality)
crystals are fine, given the high brightness of the
x-ray beams. These crystals should be easier to grow
on the ground, particularly if automated techniques are
used (trying many different combinations of salts, etc.)