Scientists believe new treatment in the fight against cancer and AIDS may come from an unlikely source, tobacco. Clinical trials are already set to begin in Africa using a cancer vaccine made from tobacco.
It is actually an anti-virus made specifically for the patient using his or her own cells. All done with the help of a tobacco plant. "The virus goes into the plant, goes down into the stem, goes into the roots and comes back up into the plant. So its completely covered all the way through," says Barry Bratcher, Director of Bio-manufacturing.
The tobacco plant acts like a high-speed copying machine. In about two weeks, it copies the virus billions of times. Then, the hybrid tobacco plant is ground up and the juice is extracted, with the vaccine in that juice.
Right now, researchers are testing the tobacco plant medicine in patients with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. But soon, they plan to expand their tests to include a similar vaccine for cervical cancer and AIDS.