Tobacco Vaccine for Cancer - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/12/07

Tobacco Vaccine for Cancer

It seems like tobacco always gets a bad rap, but not this time.

Researchers in Owensboro, Kentucky are continuing a ground breaking study using tobacco plants to prevent cervical cancer. 

"Our hope is that we will not only make a more cost effective vaccine by producing it in tobacco plants but also produce one that has a broader reactivity against other human papilloma virus types," said Dr. Kenneth Palmer.

Dr. Palmer is with the Cancer Research Center in Owensboro and he's been working on a new vaccine to protect against the human papilloma virus. You know Gardasil does the same thing and it's already on the market, but it costs $360 for three doses. The same amount of Dr. Palmer's vaccine would cost just $3.

It's cheaper because doctors use tobacco plants to incubate it. The neon glow you see here is actually the strain growing inside the plant.

It's still in the developmental stage, but Dr. Palmer is hopeful that we could see this available on the market within the next 10 years.

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