Hidden chemistry in flowers shown to kill cancer cells

Our team at the University of Birmingham
have shown that it’s possible to access an anti-cancer compound directly from a common flowering plant called ‘Feverfew’. The natural product found inside the flowers
is called ‘Parthenolide’. It’s available commercially, but it’s really expensive, so we looked at trying to access it
directly from source. Feverfew is grown in many UK gardens as a remedy for aches and pains. It’s been used for that for centuries. We grow it here as an annual, although it is a short lived perennial. And we sow every year for the purposes of the trial. By working with Winterbourne House and Garden we have been able to have a continual supply of Feverfew that is helping us continue our research back in the lab. We have been able to modify Parthenolide
to produce a number of compounds that are good at killing cancer cells in our experiments. Now the properties of these compounds make the much better drugs that we can, in the future, use in the clinic. This research isn’t only important because we
have shown a way of producing Parthenolide that makes it more accessible to researchers, but also because of the potential it shows for going from a natural product into the clinic for the treatment of patients.

1 comment

  1. Hi, interesting video, thanks. It looks like a feverfew cultivar that you're growing, harvesting and processing not the species plant Tanacetum parthenium https://www.brc.ac.uk/plantatlas/plant/tanacetum-parthenium.
    Are you using a cuvlivar, if so, what is the plant? Thanks again

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