Unfortunately, it takes about 70 years for a Pacific yew
to mature, and the process of stripping its bark to obtain the drug kills the tree.
One key problem was a shortage of Pacific yew
An average 100-year-old Pacific yew
tree yields approximately 3 kg of bark.
Taxol, an anti-cancer drug, was found in the Pacific yew
Nevertheless, drugs such as Taxol, which comes from the bark of the Pacific yew
tree and is highly successful in fighting ovarian cancer, may be the hope of the future in treating various forms of cancer and other health conditions.
These include a profile of the "Eagle Days" festival in Sauk-Prairie, Wisconsin, that draws 25,000 tourists every winter to watch bald eagles roost (and contributes up to a million dollars to the local economy) and the story of Linda Peko, whose ovarian cancer was cured by taxol, an extract from the bark of the endangered Pacific yew
This barrier has led to the continued reliance on the Pacific yew
tree for these intermediates or for taxol itself.
For example, the Pacific yew
tree used to be bulldozed and burned.
Spectacular finds, such as the current excitement over the bark extractive taxol from the Pacific yew
(Taxus brevifolia) which shows promise in the treatment of ovarian cancer, only illustrate the importance of wood chemistry research.
The problem lies in the fact that the Pacific yew
, whose bark is the most available source of taxol, is the habitat of the spotted owl, protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Another example is the breast cancer drug paclitaxel (Taxol(TM)), which was derived from the stripped bark of the Pacific Yew
tree," said Professor Quinn.
Editor's note: The Saturday Evening Post Society planted Pacific yew
trees in the hope they might someday yield lifesaving cancer medicines.
No chemist could ever dream up the chemistry of Taxol," he says, referring to the drug for fighting breast and other cancers that is derived from the bark of the Pacific yew
tree (Taxus brevifolia).
had been the only source of paclitaxel, a costly drug ingredient that's in high demand.
Gibson, in Ithaca, New York, says paclitaxel, the generic term for taxol, originally came from the bark of the rare Pacific yew
tree, Taxus brevifolia Nutt.