Proteins are the workhorses of biochemistry. They catalyze and metabolize; they regulate and signal; in the form of antibodies, they seek and destroy. Much of biotechnology entails searching for proteins that could serve as medicines and then making them in sufficient purity, potency and quantity.
The latter job may be the hardest one. The standard way to manufacture protein medicines--typically in huge fermenting vats filled with genetically engineered hamster ovary cells--is labor-intensive. Mammalian cells are complicated; it takes skill and attention to keep them fed and healthy.
This article was originally published with the title Sugar Added.