New Technique to Unboil an Egg Could Help in Fight Against Cancer

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Chemists at the University of California, Irvine have found a way to "unboil" eggs — but they're not using it to make a better breakfast. The technique, a combination of a new substance and mixing strategy, returns organic proteins to a more natural, useful state. It could be instrumental in speeding up the creation of such proteins in research and treatment of diseases like cancer. "It's not so much that we're interested in processing the eggs," explained Gregory Weiss, co-author of the study, in a UCI news release. "The real problem here is there are lots of cases of gummy proteins that you spend way too much time scraping off your test tubes, and you want some means of recovering that material." Especially when every milliliter of said material is an ingredient in expensive antibodies or medications. There are ways to handle these "gummy" proteins, but they're expensive and time-consuming. "The new process takes minutes," Weiss continued, "it speeds things up by a factor of thousands."

In fact, any industry where cultivating proteins is important could benefit — cheesemakers and farmers, for instance. The technique and its benefits are described in a paper published Friday in the journal ChemBioChem.



—Devin Coldewey