Local Researchers Use Tobacco To Save Lives
Tobacco is being used for life saving medicines, according to WKMG News.
You've heard the terrible tales about tobacco. Cigarettes kill 1,200 americans every day. But have you heard the good news? Tobacco can save lives.
Dr. Henry Daniell: "We have produced compounds in tobacco that kill cancer and it can kill microorganisms that cause cancer also."
Researchers at the University of Central Florida have engineered a strain of tobacco that can produce ten pharmaceutical compounds including a new, inexpensive way to make insulin.
The process starts here, in an UCF lab.
In this case, a regular tobacco leaf is zapped with a "gene gun" And loaded with insulin cells.
The leaf is chopped up and put under a light to grow. In a matter of months, tobacco plants are made and millions of seeds containing insulin are the result.
Kim Covarrubias: "Once the flowers on the tobacco plant are cultivated, work at the UCF research labs are done, from each of these flowers comes ten thousand seeds, the seeds are turned over to a biotech company and it is up to biotech company to distribute those seeds to tobacco farmers for growth." Dr. Henry Daniell says this is twenty years of work and it's not done to promote the tobacco industry or save its image.
"None of this works is supported by the tobacco industry. All of this work is supported by the USDA and the NIH so I get my money now from the tobacco people but from the federal government." Tobacco is vital to make this medicine since no other plant can be genetically modified so fast.