Paclitaxel, cancer and deforestation

forests provide natural source to fight cancer –one of the most deadly ilness in the world

Paclitaxel comes from the bark of one particular type of yew tree. It works by stopping cancer cells separating into two new cells, so it blocks the growth of the cancer.  According to NCI Drug Dictionary, Paclitaxel is a compound that extracted from the Pacific yew tree (Taxus brevifolia) with antineoplastic activity.

Taxus is a genus and there are several taxus living in some places. One of them has the most distinct is the Sumatran Yew.   It distinguished by its sparse, sickle-shaped yellow-green leaves.  The Sumatran Yew was found in National Park of Kerinci Seblat (TNKS : Taman Nasional Kerinci Seblat). Ministry of forestry of Indonesia releases a research finding on its biodiversity and the cultivation.

Other taxus are are found in a number of countries, including Afghanistan, Tibet, Nepal, Vietnam, India, Burma and China, and is known as the Chinese yew. It is typically found at heights ranging from 400–3,100 m in subtropical forest and on mountanoes land.

Yew trees is included in the list of “400 medicinal plants are at risk of extinction, from over-collection and deforestation, threatening the discovery of future cures for disease.”  Stated by the Botanic Gardens Conservation International on January 2008.

Paclitaxel binds to tubulin and inhibits the disassembly of microtubules, thereby resulting in the inhibition of cell division.  Paclitaxel is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat ovarian and breast cancer, and AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma. It is also approved to be used together with a drug called cisplatin to treat advanced ovarian cancer and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In the global market, Paclitaxel has several brand names such Taxol, Anzatax, Asotax, Bristaxol, Praxel, Taxol Konzentrat

Main source
NCI Drug Dictionary