Biotech Updates

Drug Company Searches for People with Super Traits

February 5, 2014

Belgian pharmaceutical company UCB has launched a competition to find individuals, families or communities that possess extraordinary characteristics such as immunity to infections, low pain sensitivity, or ability to heal rapidly. The goal of the company is to find possible genetic basis of their abilities to develop new drugs. UCB will award $10,000 to the top entrant.

Extraordinary individuals have inspired medical research in the past such as the 10-year old boy from Pakistan who has the ability to cut himself with knives and walk on burning coals without experiencing pain. Because of this individual, the scientists discovered that he and several others from the same region lack a protein on the surface of their nerves. Researchers hope to use this information to develop medicines for extreme pain.

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