Researchers from Stanford University, with funding from NCCIH, have created an innovative way to produce opioid drugs from sugar using genetically modified yeast. The new process and the methods used to develop it are described in a recent issue of the journal Science.
Opioid drugs, such as morphine and codeine, play important roles in treating severe pain and in palliative care. All drugs in this class are currently derived from only one source, the opium poppy, and the supply of this plant is unstable because environmental factors such as pests and disease can threaten the crop. Producing opioids through biosynthetic methods, using genetically engineered microorganisms, could lead to a more reliable supply of these crucial medicines. Learn more.
Read a related blog post, NCCIH-funded Research on Opioids Highlighted in Science and Nature.