Where do biologics come from?

This week I was asked when a biologic indicates it is humanized, does that mean it is a protein donated from another person?

This is NOT the case.  Biologic therapies used to treat autoimmune conditions mimic the look of antibodies composed of complex proteins.  They are made in a bioreactor using mammalian cells that have been biogenetically engineered to create a protein that is highly similar to proteins created by the human body. Proteins are made up of a sequence of amino acids.

When the sequencing is the same as that found in human proteins,
we refer to it as ‘humanized.’

The most common cells used for this purpose are Chinese hamster ovary cells.  Mouse cells (referred to as chimeric) have also been used to produce biologic treatments, but their structure could deviate a little from human proteins.  Regardless of the cell used to produce the biologic therapy, the end product is highly purified.

Carolyn Whiskin is the Pharmacy Manager for Charlton Health.  Carolyn specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, pharmaceutical compounding, women’s health, pain and smoking cessation. Carolyn has won provincial and national awards for her commitment to patient care and public service.