About the research carried out on a particular anti-cancer drug obtained from podophyllotoxin.
There are several anticancer drugs made from precursors obtained from plant extracts..lets see one of them..
Podophyllotoxin is an important natural lignin, used as a precursor for the synthesis of effective anticancer drugs like etoposide and teniposide which are used in the treatment of lung cancer, testicular cancer, a variety of leukemias and other tumours. It is a pharmaceutically active cytotoxin which acts by inhibiting the assembly of microtubules, leading to arrestation of cell division in the metaphase stage of mitosis. Due to its detrimental side-effects in natural form, its derivatives were synthesized which were produced into FDA approved drugs like etoposide, etc. Podophyllotoxin is also the precursor of novel drugs aimed to treat diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, veneral warts, measles, herpes, etc. Thus it is a very important natural drug. But, its commercially exploitable plant sources are few. One of the few exploitable species is Podophyllum hexandrum Royle or the Indian Podophyllum, a perennial rhizome found in the Himalayas. It has slow growth phase and is considered a ‘critically endangered’ plant. Also, total chemical synthesis of podophyllotoxin is complicated and expensive. Thus, several biotechnological approaches especially plant cell cultures have been attempted and recorded.
Many research papers record attempts being made to improve the accumulation of podophyllotoxin in in vitro cultures by optimizing culture conditions and nutrient levels, addition of elicitors and precursors, immobilization, etc. with varied success.
Bioreactor scale production represents the final stage leading to commercial production. Although a number of important phytochemicals have been produced by plant cell culture techniques, production on an industrial scale is still not extensive. Major factors that need to be focused on are: increasing the rate of growth of plant cells, production of a genetically stable cell line, optimization of sterilization procedure, meeting oxygen demand without hampering the process, prevention of shear, growth and production media optimization, type of reactor, inoculum density, etc.
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11) Majumder A, Jha S, “Biotechnological Approaches for the Production of Potential Anticancer leads Podophyllotoxin and Paclitaxel: an Overview”, e Journal of Biological Sciences, 2009, Dec; Volume 1, Issue 1.