Tobacco Plant may beat cancer. | Cigarettes Blog

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tobacco Plant may beat cancer.

A personalized vaccine made using tobacco plants — normally associated with causing cancer rather than helping cure it — could aid people with lymphoma in fighting the disease, US researchers said. The treatment, which would vaccinate cancer patients against their own tumor cells, is made using a new approach that turns genetically engineered tobacco plants into personalized vaccine factories.

“This is the first time a plant has been used for making a protein to inject into a person,” said Ron Levy of Stanford University School of Medicine in California, whose research appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “This would be a way to treat cancer without side effects,” Levy said in a statement on Monday. “The idea is to marshal the body’s own immune system to fight cancer.”

Tobacco PlantLevy was working with a team of scientists from the now defunct Large Scale Biology Corp, which helped fund the study, as well as Bayer AG’s Bayer HealthCare, CBR International Corp, Integrated Biomolecule Corp, The Biologics Consulting Group Inc and Holtz Biopharma Consulting.

They were working on a type of cancer known as follicular B-cell lymphoma, a kind of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that attacks the immune system. The cancer makes a specific antibody that is not found in healthy cells. The technology exploits the tobacco plant’s vulnerability a virus that only attacks tobacco plants, which most people associate with causing cancer, and not curing it. The researchers altered the virus, adding the specific antibody gene from a patient’s cancer cells. Then, they infected the tobacco plants with the gene-carrying virus.

“You scratch it on the leaves and it turns the plants into a protein-producing factory for the protein of interest,” Levy said. Other approaches that use animals to make the vaccines can take months, but the plantbased approach is very fast. “A week later, you extract the protein. It’s that fast.”

In a test of 16 patients with follicular B-cell lymphoma, 70% of people injected with a made-to-order vaccine developed an immune response, and none had any side effects.

Levy said the study suggests personalized cancer vaccines could be produced efficiently and cheaply using plants. The early-stage study only focused on the safety and immune-stimulating ability of the plant-produced vaccines. Future studies will be needed to show how effective they are as a treatment. REUTERS New pill helps shrink prostate tumours London: A once-a-day pill significantly shrank tumors in men with advanced prostate cancer who had not responded to other treatments, researchers said on Tuesday.

Tobacco Plant

Cougar Biotechnology Inc’s drug abiraterone delayed a worsening of the disease by a median of 400 days, according to the Phase-I clinical trial results published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. “We are highly confident this drug is highly active and durable,” Johan de Bono, the researcher at Britain’s Institute of Cancer Research who led the study, said. “We believe this drug will make a difference.”

Prostate cancer is the second-leading cancer killer of men. Each year, 680,000 men worldwide are diagnosed with the disease and about 220,000 will die from it. “This drug prevents the cancer from making its own hormones that allow the cancer cells to survive”.


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