Yeast-Fermented Chemotherapy: If We Can Brew This Drug, We Can Brew Anything
An incredibly old way of making drugs is now an incredible new way to make drugs. Scientists have genetically reengineered a yeast fermentation process in order to produce chemotherapeutics instead of beer. Vinblastine is the most complex compound produced with engineered yeast so far, the researchers say. Its naturally occurring ingredients are normally harvested from an endangered plant in Madagascar, and the chemotherapeutic is on the World Health Organization's essential medications list. Synthetic production of vinblastine could eliminate supply problems, lower costs, and save lives.
@leena Genetically engineered yeast (along with E coli) is a key microorganism used in biopharmaceutical production. Yeast has been redesigned to produce other naturally occurring compounds, such as cannabinoids and the antimalarial drug artemisinin. The process involves removing a sequence of biochemical reactions, or metabolic pathway, from a plant cell and reconstructing it inside a yeast cell.