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How Plants Can Contribute to the Supply of Anticancer Compounds

: Buyel, J.F.


Malik, S.:
Biotechnology and Production of Anti-Cancer Compounds
Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2017
ISBN: 978-3-319-53880-8
ISBN: 978-3-319-53879-2
Aufsatz in Buch
Fraunhofer IME ()

Plants were the first sources of medicines used by humankind, with evidence of herbal remedies dating back at least 60,000 years. Many plants have been used medicinally because they produce secondary metabolites with pharmacological properties, including compounds such as paclitaxel (Taxol) that inhibit cell division and can therefore be used as a treatment for cancer. With the advent of recombinant DNA and molecular biotechnology in the 1970s, plants have also been modified genetically to produce more of their native pharmaceutically active substances, or even nonnative compounds. The scope of medicinal plants has also expanded beyond secondary metabolites to include pharmaceutical recombinant proteins, such as human antibodies. This chapter provides an overview of the anticancer compounds naturally produced in plants and how gene technology has been used to facilitate their production. It also considers how plant-based expression systems can help to supply modern healthcare systems with protein-based anticancer compounds such as monoclonal antibodies, lectins, and anticancer vaccines.