Tobacco Hailed as Latest Plant-Based Vaccine

July 23, 2008 10:44 AM
by Sarah Amandolare
In an unlikely twist, tobacco plants are being hailed as a cancer cure, further evidence of the superiority of plant-based vaccines.

30-Second Summary

Researchers from Stanford University have put tobacco plants, notorious for their use in cigarettes, to better use. They’ve used the plants to cultivate essential elements of a cancer vaccine, reports the BBC.

Plants can be used as “factories” to produce an antibody chemical that fights follicular B-cell lymphoma, a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Lead researcher Richard Levy says plant-based vaccines are less expensive and can be made much more quickly than animal-based vaccines.

Within the past three years, tobacco plants have been used in studies to prevent cervical cancer, neutralize rabies, and fight breast and lung tumors.

Plant-based vaccines are nothing new to researchers, particularly plant biologist Charles Arntzen of Arizona State University who has been lauded for his research into edible vaccines using tomatoes, potatoes and bananas.

“Their simple demand for solar light, water and minerals make plants an economic system for the production of proteins,” says Dr. Rosella Franconi of Italy, who has studied plant vaccines for HPV.

Headline Links: Plant factories fight cancer

Background: Tobacco takes a turn

Related Topics: Edible vaccines

Opinion & Analysis: The advantages


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