Scientists use tobacco plant to fight cancer

A personalised vaccine made using tobacco plants could aid people with lymphoma in fighting the disease, US researchers said.

Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine took antibodies from patients with a type of lymphoma, grew them in tobacco plants, extracted them and re-injected the individualised vaccines back into the patients, where, in most cases, it produced an immune response that helped to fight the cancer.
"This is the first time a plant has been used for making a protein to inject into a person," said Dr Ron Levy of Stanford. "This would be a way to treat cancer without side effects," he added.
Scientists have been very interested in using plants instead of animals as a way to produce vaccines as they are potentially cheaper, safer and faster to produce on a large scale. However, plant-produced cancer vaccines have not received much research attention, and until this study, there have been no clinical trials in humans.
The findings were published on 21 July in the latest proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (pi)

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