Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Plant stem cells could be fruitful source of low-cost cancer drug

26.10.2010
A popular cancer drug could be produced cheaply and sustainably using stem cells derived from trees, a study suggests.

Researchers have isolated and grown stem cells from a yew tree whose bark is a natural source of the anticancer compound paclitaxel. The development could enable the compound to be produced on a commercial scale at low cost, with no harmful by-products.

Scientists and engineers behind the development say the drug treatment – currently used on lung, ovarian, breast, head and neck cancer – could become cheaper and more widely available. The study was carried out by the University of Edinburgh and the Unhwa Biotech company in Korea.

Currently, an extract from yew tree bark is used to industrially manufacture the compound paclitaxel. However, this process is expensive, requires supplies of mature trees, and creates environmentally damaging by-products.

Researchers claim that using stem cells – self-renewing tree cells which can be manipulated to produce large amounts of the active compound – would effectively create an abundant supply of the drug. The process would cost far less than conventional methods.

Scientists behind the project have also cultured stem cells from other plants with medical applications, indicating that the technique could be used to manufacture other important pharmaceuticals besides paclitaxel.

The study was published in Nature Biotechnology and supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Professor Gary Loake, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Biological Sciences, who led/took part in the study, said: "Plants are a rich source of medicine – around one in four drugs in use today is derived from plants. Our findings could deliver a low-cost, clean and safe way to harness the healing power of plants, potentially helping to treat cancer, and other conditions."

Catriona Kelly | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ed.ac.uk

Further reports about: Biological Science Biotechnology Science TV stem cells

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen
23.02.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Atomic Design by Water
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>