Interviews with scientists – Plant-derived medicines to cure cancer


This 5-minute video interview with Professor Sarah O’Connor from the John Innes Centre, introduces her work to find new molecules that can successfully treat cancer.

There are a number of plant derived medicines that have played a huge role in medicine. For example, taxol, isolated form the Yew tree, is used to treat a variety of different cancers. However, plant natural products are expensive and very time-consuming to develop. They could be exploited more rapidly if we develop better understanding of plant metabolism.

This is an interesting way to introduce students to biochemistry, and to encourage them to take a synoptic approach to their biology curriculum, by bringing together plant science and medicine.

The accompanying notes include a teachers’ summary, plus student questions and answers.

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