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Anti-cancer drug camptothecin

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 

Context: Researchers at the Indian Institutes of Technology Madras and Mandi have successfully metabolically engineered plant cells to increase the production of the anti-cancer drug camptothecin (CPT).

  • Traditionally extracted from Nathapodytes nimmoniana, an endangered plant native to India, the process involves a large quantity of plant material.
  • The decline in the plant’s population has led researchers to explore alternative sources.
  • In a previous study, a microbe was identified as a high-yielding alternative.

Now, the researchers have developed a genome-scale metabolic model for N. nimmoniana plant cells, paving the way for sustainable and efficient commercial production of the drug and reducing the need to harvest endangered plants.