Stanford University researchers, partly funded by our Center, have used complex genetic engineering techniques to synthesize a potential anticancer drug in yeast. The researchers inserted 25 genes from various sources into yeast cells to enable them to produce the drug noscapine, a cough suppressant that may also be of value in cancer treatment.
Having a new way to make noscapine—a nonnarcotic drug that currently has only one source, the opium poppy—is significant in itself. But even more important, the techniques developed in this research demonstrate the potential for microorganisms such as yeast to serve as platforms for manufacturing valuable natural products quickly and reliably.
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