Trees could provide cheap cancer drug
26 October 2010
A POPULAR cancer drug could be produced cheaply and sustainably using stem cells derived from trees, according to a new study.
Researchers from Edinburgh University have isolated and grown stem cells from a yew tree, whose bark is a natural source of the anti-cancer compound paclitaxel.
The development could enable the compound to be produced 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.
Professor Gary Loake, of the university's School of Biological Sciences, who took part in the study, said: "Our findings could deliver a low-cost, clean and safe way to harness the healing power of plants."