Thursday, July 20, 2006

Tobacco plant used to cure cancer

The heading of an artice in the Independent Online reads "Tobacco could cure cancer."

My first impression: Tobacco is the culprit that is causing cancer, the reason why health warnings are mandatory on all tobacco products. What a turnaround this is!

Read on. Tobacco is still harmful to health and it still causes cancer, there is no change to that.

The scientific community has in the recent times, genetically engineered tobacco plants to produce human proteins antibodies that fights against certain types of cancer. Thanks to the advances in medical and biotechnology, more effective treatments are now available to fight the deadly disease.

Alain Tissier, a biologist, plans to use molecules from tobacco plants to create a cheaper, more effective way of manufacturing treatments. "These molecules - taxol and taxotere - are already used in treatments for cancers of the ovary, breast, lung and prostate," said M. Tissier, who heads the Librophyt scientific research company based in Saint-Paul-lès-Durance in southern France. "They are used in chemotherapy and are essential in preventing the spread of cancerous cells."

So let us get this very clear. Don't get caught up with a misleading title. Tobacco is still the cancer causing culprit, but scientists are able to use the tobacco plant and make antibodies to fight cancer. Tobacco plants are cheap to grow, so the treatment can be less expensive. It seems we can also get the devil to fight the devil.

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