Tamoxifen and Breast Cancer

dwheeler at teleport.com dwheeler at teleport.com
Wed Sep 23 08:46:21 EST 1998


In article <36081146.989B96F1 at fred.fhcrc.org>,
  zod <scalzod at fred.fhcrc.org> wrote:
>
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> dwheeler at teleport.com wrote:
>
> > > > > The following appeared in The Oregonian, September 15, 1998, pA10 BTW,
> > > > > tamoxifen is derived from Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolius), and is also known
> > > > > as taxol. Pacific yew is a very slow-growing tree of the Pacific Northwest. A
> > > > > 400-year-old tree may be 12 inches dbh, and contain enough taxol to treat a
> > > > > single cancer patient.
>
>     Are you suggesting agroforestry as a route for taxol production?  Check out the
> work of Stierle, et al ( PubMed medline query ) amongst others.  I suspect that
> forestry loses out; it's easier to alter fungal expression.
>
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> <P>dwheeler at teleport.com wrote:
> <BLOCKQUOTE TYPE=CITE>> > > The following appeared in The Oregonian, September
> 15, 1998, pA10 BTW,
> <BR>> > > tamoxifen is derived from Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolius), and
> is also known
> <BR>> > > as taxol. Pacific yew is a very slow-growing tree of the Pacific
> Northwest. A
> <BR>> > > 400-year-old tree may be 12 inches dbh, and contain enough taxol
> to treat a
> <BR>> > > single cancer patient.</BLOCKQUOTE>
> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Are you suggesting agroforestry as a route for taxol
> production?&nbsp; Check out the work of Stierle, et al ( <A HREF="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/htbin-post/Entrez/query?uid=7494141&form=6&db=m&Dopt=b">PubMed
> medline query</A> ) amongst others.&nbsp; I suspect that forestry loses
> out; it's easier to alter fungal expression.</HTML>
>
I checked out your reference, specifically that at:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/htbin-post/Entrez/query?uid=8097061&form=6&db=m&
Dopt=b

When I mentioned this to Nancy Smith Weber several years ago, she replied that
the amount of taxol derived from Taxomyces andreae was literally microscopic.
That it might produce some valuable amounts in the future is still a thought.
But it is unlikely that even a breeder reactor would produce enough taxol to
treat even a single patient. All this means is that the only *real* source for
taxol at this time is Taxus brevifolia.

As for changing fungal expression, fungi do that all the time. According to
Dr. William Dennison of Oregon State University, endophytic fungi found
inside Douglas fir needles constantly mutate in order to stay insects. Since
they this much faster than science might be able to, such endophytic fungi
are far more effective producers of insecticides than chemical companies.

Additionally, there is considerable question as to the actual effectiveness
of taxol. Research done on the fungus Flammulina velutipes indicates a
greater effectiveness against breast cancer with far less incidence of side
affects. Flammulina velutipes is better known as enokitake (or enokidake),
and is readily available in such local grocery stores as: Fred Meyer,
Safeway, & Food-4-Less.

Daniel B. Wheeler
http://www.oregonwhitetruffles.com

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