Sunday, September 20, 2009

Podophyllotoxin in American Mayapple ?

A common plant called American mayapple (see the picture) may soon offer an alternative to an Asian cousin that's been harvested almost to extinction because of its anti-cancer properties. The near-extinct Asian plant, Podophyllyum emodi, produces podophyllotoxin (see the structure), a compound used in manufacturing etoposide, the active ingredient in a drug used for treating lung and testicular cancer. Podophyllyum emodi is a cousin of the common mayapple, sometimes considered a weed, found in the United States.

Podophyllotoxin and its derivatives are used in several commercially available pharmaceutical products such as the anticancer drugs etoposide, teniposide, and etopophos, which are used in the treatment of small-cell lung cancer, lymphoblastic leukemia, testicular cancer, and brain tumors. Podophyllotixin derivatives are also used for the treatment of psoriasis and malaria, and some are being tested for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Currently, podophyllotoxin is produced commercially using the roots and rhizomes of Indian mayapple, an endangered species harvested from the wild in India, Pakistan, Nepal, and China.

Now the researchers from the US, found that mayapple colonies in the eastern part of the United States can be used for the development of high podophyllotoxin cultivars, which could subsequently provide the base for commercial production of podophyllotoxin in the United States.

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1 comment:

Med Chem said...

podophyllotixin like etoposide, teniposide are clinically used topoisomerase II inhibitors. It's great that mayapple constitutes such anticancer agents.
Happy blogging!