A collaboration between Chinese researchers and UK researchers has led to the unlocking of facilities related to evolutionary secrets that help the medicinal herb called barbed skullcap develop cancer-fighting compounds.
The CEPAMS partnership made use of DNA sequencing tech to put in place the genomic sequence of the skullcap, also known as a banzhilian in China.
All this gave researchers genetic information, a history related to microevolution, which are required to pinpoint how the plant builds the compound scutebarbatine A, which is useful in fighting a range of cancer cells.
Group Leader, Professor Cathie Martin of the John Innes Center, and other authors of the research stated that they have found that a primary metabolite has activity against cancer cells but not against non-cancer cells, which is notably important in the case of an anti-cancer metabolite. They are currently looking to introduce synthetic methods in order to produce more lead compounds.To isolate medicinal chemistry from the plant, in traditional Chinese medicine, the herb gets boiled in water for almost 2 hours, and then the extract is dried to develop a powder, which is then taken as a decoction. With the knowledge of the genes that make for the biochemical pathway in the anti-cancer activity related to herb, scientists are almost their to be able to synthesize compounds of larger sizes in a quicker way and that too sustainably through using yeast as a host.
The research that happens to be a part of Molecular Plant in the journal is carried by CEPAMS which is a collaboration between Chinese academy of science and John Innes Centre. As per professor Martin, this happens to be a great collaboration that develops worthy drug leads that too from natural resources and puts forth the value of aiming on species’ microevolution.
For treatment of varied medical conditions, the skullcap genus has been used for centuries in TCM. Preparations that are based on Scutellaria barbata at the time of chemotherapy have shown that the risk of metastatic tumours can be reduced.
Dr. Evangelos Tatsis, CEPMAS group leader who is based at Shanghai, natural products for ages have been the lead compounds for new drug discovery. By following the track of the traditional Chinese plants, novel anti-cancer medicines can be developed, and this research is indeed a crucial step in this regard.
Leads for the new drug discovery have often been provided by plant-based traditional medicines. It is well to be noted that taxol and vinblastine are clinically used as drugs against anticancer. TCM happens to be one of the best documented systems with information on the therapeutic herbal remedies’ properties.