Until now, we’ve only heard the negative effects of Tobacco, but now there’s a positive one too!
Tobacco might help treat type 2 diabetes, dementia, stroke, arthritis etc at affordable prices! This is because tobacco plants can produce an anti- inflammatory protein with therapeutic potential.
The research was conducted by a combined team from the University of Western Ontario and Lawson Health Research Institute by using the plants as “green bioreactors” to produce the anti-inflammatory protein Interleukin 37 (IL-37). She also added, “The human kidney produces IL-37, but not nearly enough to get us out of an inflammation injury.”
Tony Jevnikar, a professor at the University stated “This protein is a master regulator of inflammation in the body, and has been shown in pre-clinical models to be effective in treating a whole host of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases”.
Other methods used to produce the protein for clinical use come at a high cost for limited quantities. IL-37 has had limited use in clinics even though it has shown positive results in animals because of limitations of production in large quantities at an affordable price. Currently, E. coli bacteria is used to make IL-37 but at a very high cost.
According to the study published in the journal Plant Cell Reports, that’s where the tobacco plants come in and pave the way to provide treatments that are effective and affordable.
“The plants offer the potential to produce pharmaceuticals in a way that is much more affordable than current methods,” Western biology professor and Lawson scientist Shengwu Ma said. “Tobacco is high-yield, and we can temporarily transform the plant so that we can begin making the protein of interest within two weeks.”
Having proved they can produce the protein in tobacco, researchers hope to do the same with other plants, including potatoes. Jevnikar is also studying to see whether the protein can prevent organ inflammation during transplantation.