From the aromatic plants we use every day, cancer therapy could come. I study

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Elia Tabuenca García

Researchers have mapped the biosynthetic pathway of the production of plant compounds with antitumor action

Don't store avocado like this: it's dangerous

Le aromatic plants that we use to flavor gravies and sauces could help research in the fight against cancer.

Thymol, carvacrol, thymus hydroquinone and other monoterpenic alcohols present in thyme, In 'Origan and in other plants of the Lamiaceae family they possess interesting and well-known anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial and anticancer.

Read also: Oregano: properties and health benefits

The use of these substances in cancer therapies however, it is not that simple. Inside the plants, in fact, they are found in small doses and the extraction is not particularly efficient and sustainable.

In fact, to obtain from plants quantities of molecules suitable for the production of drugs, enormous quantities of vegetable raw material would be required, with consequent consumption of soil, water, energy and clearly this would also increase costs.

Know the structure of these substances and the way in which they are produced by the plant can simplify things, since it allows to obtain the same molecules with more efficient methods.

A group of researchers worked on just this and managed to map the biosynthetic path of thymohydroquinone, a molecule that seems to have the greatest action in blocking tumor development.

Now that the biosynthetic path is known, botanists and agronomists could develop cultivars that produce larger quantities of these substances; alternatively these compounds could be incorporated into microorganisms such as yeast for amplify its production.

The study carried out by researchers at Purdue University, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and Michigan State University is only a first step but now that the key has been discovered it will be possible to amplify the production of these molecules and, subsequently, create drugs for there anticancer therapy.

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Reference source: PNAS

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