Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Medicines from plants

Date:
May 27, 2011
Source:
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Some people think of herbal teas, others of tobacco when they hear the buzzword 'medicines from plants'. One research team succeeded in producing biopharmaceuticals -- such as an antibody against HIV, for example -- in tobacco plants.

Dr. Jόrgen Drossard, Dr. Thomas Rademacher and Dr. Stefan Schillberg (from left to right) produce active substances in transgenic plants and plant suspension cells.
Credit: Copyright Dirk Mahler

"Medicines from plants" -- one thinks of herbal teas or valerian drops. However, that has nothing in common with what the researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME in Aachen, Germany, are doing. They use plants to produce biopharmaceuticals. These are proteins that, unlike many other medications, cannot be chemically produced.

Biologically produced medications, such as recombinant insulin or therapeutic antibodies to fight cancer, have become indispensable. Plants are particularly suitable for producing complex active substances. The reason is that these substances can be produced inexpensively and on a large scale in plants. Compared to producing them in animal cells, plants have the advantage that they grow quickly, are easy to look after and can be protected well against damaging influences.

Precisely controlled raising of plants

Tobacco was the plant of choice. Dr. Jόrgen Drossard explains the reason: "Tobacco has long been a very interesting plant for molecular biologists. It is easy to modify, meaning a foreign gene coding for the pharmaceutical protein can be introduced. In addition, a lot of biomass grows quickly and therefore a greater quantity of the desired proteins is also produced." The active substances must be absolutely safe. It is for this reason that the requirements both for growing the plants and for the processes and equipment for the preparations are particularly high. The researchers from Aachen passed the stringent tests of the supervisory and approval authorities for both. "The tobacco plants are protected from all external influences and grown under precisely controlled conditions. We practically grow them on sterile substrates. And fertilization with manure is absolutely out of the question, of course," says Dr. Thomas Rademacher.

But growing the plants only solved a part of the problem. Because, how does one get as much protein as possible from the leaves that are harvested? The team developed the equipment that is suitable for that itself, because current processes, coming from food technology, for example, work on an entirely different scale. The complete pulping process now takes place in a closed loop.

Biopharmaceuticals for clinical studies

"We wanted to show that it can be done, that biopharmaceuticals can be produced that are suitable for clinical studies," says Dr. Stefan Schillberg of the IME. And this is exactly where the team is at with its development. The proteins that are produced in this manner are currently being tested with the objective that they be used in clinical studies. For example, the antibodies could be used to manufacture a vaginal gel with which women could protect themselves from an HIV infection. In a new project, the researchers are currently working on producing a malaria vaccine in plants.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Medicines from plants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110526102759.htm>.
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. (2011, May 27). Medicines from plants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110526102759.htm
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Medicines from plants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110526102759.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — Hoping to break the record for world's wooliest, Shaun the sheep came up 10 pounds shy with his fleece weighing over 50 pounds after being shorn for the first time in years. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) — Canadian scientists looking into the very first land animals took a fish out of water and forced it to walk. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fake Dogs Scare Real Geese from Wis. Park

Fake Dogs Scare Real Geese from Wis. Park

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — Parks officials in Stevens Point, Wisconsin had a fowl problem. Canadian Geese were making a mess of a park, so officials enlisted cardboard versions of man's best friend. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins