Scientists at Finland's VTT Technical Research Centre have made substantial progress in duplicating the chemical pathway through which the Madagascar periwinkle synthesizes the anticancer APIs vincristine and vinblastine. Their research into engineered cell lines may open up opportunities for producing other plant-based drugs such as morphine. The research is being funded through the European Commission's Seventh Framework project. "The enabling technologies we have developed are largely applicable to the other plant species," said project leader Kirsi-Marja Oksman-Caldentey.

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