Thursday, December 22, 2016

Artificial leaf copies nature to manufacture medicine

By Ben Hirschler

Dutch scientists have developed an artificial leaf that can act as a mini-factory for producing drugs, an advance that could allow medicines to be produced anywhere there is sunlight.  The work taps into the ability of plants to use sunlight to feed themselves through photosynthesis, something industrial chemists have struggled to replicate because sunshine usually generates too little energy to fuel chemical reactions.
 
"Theoretically, you could use this device to make drug compounds with solar energy anywhere you want," said lead researcher Timothy Noel at Eindhoven University of Technology.  By doing away with the need for a power grid, it may be possible one day to make malaria drugs in the jungle or even medicines on Mars in some future space colony, he believes.......In 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a drug called Elelyso from Pfizer and Protalix Biotherapeutics for Gaucher disease, a rare genetic condition, made with genetically modified carrot cells.  Other researchers are also cultivating crops that have been specially bred to produce useful medicines and vaccines in their leaves......To Read More....

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