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2011 Poultry Production Research Impacts, Part 1

Avian Embryonic Stem Cells Research

Two patents from Department of Poultry Science researchers were successfully licensed to Vivalis  and were subsequently sub-licensed to Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK). After receiving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's acceptance of a new Investigational  New Drug (IND) application for an investigational influenza vaccine produced in avian embryonic stem cells, in 2010, GSK announced that the corresponding Phase I clinical trial will be the first human trial of clinical material produced using avian embryonic stem cells developed by Vivalis. The IND is held by GSK.

The patents in question are:
Petitte, J.N. & Z. Yang. Avian embryonic stem cells. Issued August 12, 1997 as U.S. Patent no. 5,656,479

Petitte, J.N. & Z. Yang. Method of producing an avian embryonic stem cell culture and the avian embryonic stem cell culture produced by the process. Issued August 23, 1994 as U.S. Patent no. 5,340,740

Dr. James N. Petitte, Professor, Department of Poultry Science, N.C. State University
Visit Dr. Petitte's Web Page

Molting Research

"The Physiology of Forced Molting," published by John Brake in the late 1970's, led to further research and development of management programs widely used the U.S. and international commercial layer industry for over three decades. In subsequent years, researchers in the Department of Poultry Science discovered molting programs for broiler breeders and turkey breeders, as well.

Dr. John Brake, William Neal Reynolds Professor, Department of Poultry Science, N.C. State University
Visit Dr. Brake's Web Page

Salmonella pullorum Research

Dr. Roy Dearstyne was instrumental in the development of testing procedures to overcome Salmonella pullorum, which caused excessive mortality levels in the early years of the poultry industry. The short-interval testing scheme he developed during the late 1920's and early 1930's for S. pullorum testing was eventually adopted nationwide; and it has been widely used since that time as part of the USDA National Poultry Improvement Plan, in 1935, when the agency began its S. pullorum testing and breeding work.
Ovarian Cancer Prevention 

The early detection of human ovarian cancer, a disease resulting in deaths in more women than all other gynecological cancers combined, is important to successful treatment of the disease. In the United States, 27,000-28,000 women are diagnosed with the disease annually; and every year, 16,00-17,000 women die of the disease. Unfortunately, ovarian cancer is not easily detected and so is often discovered only in the advanced stages. Consequently, early detection methods or markers are urgently needed; and the search for early detection methods is gaining headway.
The chick has emerged as a viable model of the disease because of its high rate of naturally occurring ovarian cancer and because the epithelial or surface cells of chicken ovaries resemble those of human ovary epithelial cells; and the chicken ovary  cells appear to respond to the hormone, progestin, in the same manner as human cells. Additionally, researchers
have discovered a marker, CA-125, which is a blood-borne component occurring in the presence of ovarian tumors.
N.C. State Department of Poultry Science researchers have used egg-laying chickens as a model, to develop the ability to detect ovarian cancer in the early stages, using proteomic blood-borne markers in chickens that may correlate with those present in humans. This technique has been shown to be useful for evaluating potential detection methods for human ovarian cancer early detection, which could potentially save many human lives.

There has been a recent upsurge of interest in this model, following recent publication of manuscripts on the technique. The  model has been shown to
enhance the ability of medical researchers to identify markers potentially useful in verifying disease presence and evaluating the efficacy of cancer chemopreventive drug regimens. The model may thus support development of acceptable preventive programs and provide an early detection mechanism for human ovarian cancer.
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Kenneth E. Anderson, Department of Poultry Science, N.C. State University
Adam Hawkridge, Department of Chemistry, N.C. State University
Dr. David Muddiman, Professor, Department of Chemistry, N.C. State University
Dr. James Petitte, Professor of Poultry Science, Department of Poultry Science, N.C. State University
Dr. Paul Mozdziak, Department of Poultry Science, N.C. State University
Dr. Edgar Oviedo, Department of Poultry Science, N.C. State University

Layer Performance Testing

Beginning in 1959, the North Carolina Random Test for egg-type stocks provided the commercial layer industry with unbiased data regarding poultry strain performance. Changed in 1986 to the North Carolina Layer Performance and Management Test, the tool is now the only such testing program in the world.

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Mycotoxin Research

Descriptions of the detrimental effects and implication so fungal toxins, called mycotoxins, in poultry feeds were established by Dr. Pat Hamilton and his co-workers. As a result of this research effort, the North Carolina State Legislature appropriated funds to establish and Aflatoxin Analytical Laboratory in the N.C. State University Department of Poultry Science.

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Feed Enzyme Research

Dr. Jason Shih (now Professor Emeritus) and his co-workers discovered, isolated, sequenced and characterized a keratinase enzyme from Bacillus licheniformis. These findings generated a start-up company, BioResource International (BRI), established based upon the keratinase technology. The enzyme is marketed as a poultry feed supplement under the trade name, Versazyme. The product improves feed conversion and yield, reducing animal feed costs for framers, when used as a feed additive for broilers.
In 2010, the Triangle Business Journal named BRI, Inc., a "Fast 50" award winner. The award recognizes 50 of the fastest growing companies in the Raleigh-Durham area, based on revenue growth and other factors.

Transgenic Animal Research

Drs. Paul Mozdziak and James Petitte of the N.C. State Department of Poultry Science were among the first to develop a transgenic chicken expressing a reporter gene which can be easily tracked to follow gene expression through embryo development.

The new lines of transgenic chicken are research tools which can be used to understand birth defects, such as spinal bifida, and limb deformities. Gaining an understanding of how such defects occur may provide ways to prevent development abnormalities, and have other uses not yet considered. The transgenic chickens express the enzyme, beta-galactosidase and expression of the enzyme gene, lacZ appears to be stable from one chicken generation to the next.
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Dr. Paul Mozdziak, Department of Poultry Science, N.C. State University
Dr. James Petitte,
Department of Poultry Science, N.C. State University