If substances from the Madagascar rosy periwinkle
can kill cancer, why should plants that people eat as food not have a comparable therapeutic effect?
The famous cancer-fighting properties of Madagascar's rosy periwinkle
can be imagined to extend to many as-yet-undiscovered fruits of the biotic wilderness.
Last week, at an American Chemical Society national meeting in Washington, D.C., Scott described his progress using sets of enzymes to make vitamin B12, penicillin, and anticancer alkaloids derived from the rosy periwinkle
(SN: 5/30/92, p.366).
The rosy periwinkle
, found about 30 years ago in Madagascar, has provided drugs that have helped four times as many children with leukemia survive.
In the 1980s scientists found the Madagascan rosy periwinkle
contained several anti-cancer alkaloids -- now used for treating Hodgkin's disease and childhood leukaemia.