Iowa Public Television

 

Yew needles find partner in fighting cancer

posted on March 31, 2000


A NUTTY ANSWER TO FIGHTING CANCER...

A NEW STUDY SHOWS THE MAIN INGREDIENT IN A CANCER-FIGHTING DRUG CALLED TAXOL CAN BE EXTRACTED FROM HAZELNUTS. TYPICALLY, TAXOL IS MADE FROM A SUBSTANCE FOUND IN YEW NEEDLES.

THE NUTS ARE A POTENTIAL SOURCE FOR THE ANTI-CANCER AGENT, BUT IT'S UNCLEAR IF PROCESSING HAZELNUTS FOR THIS PURPOSE WILL BE COMMERCIALLY FEASIBLE. THE ACTIVE INGREDIENT IN A GRAM OF HAZELNUTS IS ONLY ONE-TENTH OF THE AMOUNT FOUND IN A SIMILAR QUANTITY OF YEW NEEDLES. THE FEDERAL DRUG ADMINISTRATION HAS NOT YET APPROVED THE NUT DERIVATIVE.

RESEARCHERS SAY SIMPLY EATING THE HAZELNUTS WILL NOT PROVIDE THE BENEFIT OF THE TAXOL DRUG.

Tags: cancer diseases drugs news trees