Holy smoke: tobacco plant shows cancer-fighting potential (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Inside eLife
  • Views 107
  • Annotations

A molecule found in the tobacco plant could be useful in killing cancerous cells in humans, Australian research has found.

The molecule, found in the pink and white flowers of the ornamental tobacco plant Nicotiana alata, is a key part of the plant's natural defence mechanism, allowing it to fight off fungal and bacterial infections.

After isolating the molecule, known as NaD1, La Trobe University biologists found that it also had the ability to identify and destroy cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unscathed.

"This is the holy grail – to develop specific agents which will only target cancer and not the normal healthy cells," cancer biologist Mark Hulett said.

Read the paper.

Read coverage from The Sydney Morning Herald.