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Monday 13 August 2007

Camptothecin: therapeutic potential and biotechnology.

By: Sirikantaramas S, Asano T, Sudo H, Yamazaki M, Saito K.

Curr Pharm Biotechnol 2007 Aug;8(4):196-202

Camptothecin (CPT) and its derivatives have been received considerable attention recently. Two semi-synthetic derivatives, topotecan and irinotecan, are currently prescribed as anticancer drugs. Several more are now in clinical trial. CPT is produced in many plants belonging to unrelated orders of angiosperms. At present, CPT supplied for pharmaceutical use is extracted from the plants, Camptotheca acuminata and Nothapodytes foetida. Several efforts have been made to sustain a stable production of CPT by in vitro cell cultures of C. acuminata, N. foetida and Ophiorrhiza pumila. Recent report showed that plants are not the only sources that produce CPT. CPT was reported to be produced from the endophytic fungus isolated from the inner bark of N. foetida. The hairy root cultures of C. acuminata and O. pumila produce and secrete CPT into the medium in large quantities. These reports suggest the possibility to develop large-scale production of CPT. In addition, recent advance in the cloning and characterization of biosynthetic enzymes involved in CPT biosynthetic pathway provides valuable information for developing genetically engineered CPT-producing plants.

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