Tobacco is Making the Vaccines and Drugs of the Future

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Tobacco plants are being converted to organic mini factories that are creating new vaccines, as well as drugs.  The work is being done by researchers at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, England.

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From Technology Networks

Tobacco Plants as Organic Mini Factories Producing Vaccines and New Drugs

Researchers at the John Innes Centre, Norwich, are helping to lead a new European Union-funded project that promotes tobacco plants as organic mini factories producing vaccines and new drugs.

The laboratory of Professor George Lomonossoff will help deliver the NEWCOTIANA project which combines several new plant breeding techniques to produce medical and cosmetic products in tobacco plants.

The 7.2 million Euros Horizon 2020 project aims to develop new varieties of tobacco and its wild relative Nicotiana benthamiana to produce compounds such as antibodies, vaccines and drugs in a sustainable manner.

NEWCOTIANA is coordinated by scientists at the Institute for Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology (IBMCP) from the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) with participation of 19 industrial and academic partners form 8 European countries and Australia.

In helping to deliver the project Professor Lomonossoff will lead researchers at the John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park, in investigating the performance of new varieties of N.benthamiana as hosts for transient expression of biopharmaceuticals

“We will breed new varieties of tobacco and Nicotiana benthamiana that will work safely and efficiently as biofactories.” explains Professor Lomonossoff.

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