BEN # 112
aceska at CUE.BC.CA
Wed Sep 13 03:48:46 EST 1995
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No. 112 September 13, 1995
aceska at freenet.victoria.bc.ca Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2
EUROPEAN YEW - TAXUS BACCATA - YIELDS AN ANTI-CANCER DRUG
From: The European MagAZine, 31 Aug - 6 Sept 1995, p. 12.
The natural compounds in yew are being used in the manufacture
of a new anti-cancer drug being developed by the French phar-
maceutical company Rhone Poulenc Rorer. The result of long-term
research into the taxoid compounds is the drug Docetaxel
[=Taxotere], which has recently undergone trials by the European
Society for Medical Oncologists. The women who took part in the
trial all had advanced breast cancer and secondary liver
tumours. In a quarter of the patients tested, the liver tumours
disappeared completely and in half of the group they shrank by
50 per cent or more.
Docetaxel is showing a high activity in patients where current
therapy is limited and where prognosis is extremely poor. Also,
the recommended dose and schedule are suitable for outpatient
treatment. Docetaxel takes just one hour to administer and only
five or so treatments are usually required. But, as with any
anti-cancer drug, there are side effects, including fluid reten-
tion, lower back pain, vomiting and chest tightness. If licensed
by the European Medical Evaluation Agency, Docetaxel should be
on the market by the end of the year.
In southern England, hedge clipping and collecting companies are
already springing up to satisfy the new demand. Every year 200-
300 tonnes of English yew clippings are now sent to France. The
collection process is selective and only European yew no thicker
than a pencil can be processed. The clippings must be dry,
unadulterated by other garden refuse and reach cold storage
within 48 hours of being cut. One tonne of clippings produces
just 200 g of the new drug.
Additional references (from CARL's Uncover):
Gelmon, K. 1994. The taxoids: paclitaxel and docetaxel. The
Lancet, 344(8932): 1267.
Lavelle, F., Bissery, M.C., & Andre, S. 1995. Preclinical
Evaluation of Docetaxel (Taxotere). Seminars in oncology,
22(2 - Supp 4): 3.
Pazdur, R., Kudelka, A. P., & Kavanagh, J. J. 1993. New Drugs:
The taxoids: paclitaxel (Taxol) and docetaxel (Taxotere).
Cancer treatment reviews, 19(4): 351.
Verweij, J. 1994. Docetaxel (Taxotere), a new anticancer drug
with promising potential? British journal of cancer,
TWO SPECIES OF PICRIS (ASTERACEAE) ADVENTIVE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
From: Adolf Ceska <aceska at freenet.victoria.bc.ca>
& Frank Lomer c/o <ubc at unixg.ubc.ca>
Two species of the genus Picris have been found recently in
British Columbia. Picris is a genus of about 45 species dis-
tributed in Europe, Asia and Africa. It belongs to the tribe
Lactuceae, the tribe of the Asteraceae family that is charac-
terized by having heads with only ligulate flowers. Within the
tribe Lactuceae, Picris has the following characteristic com-
bination of characters: plants with cauline leaves; stems with
stiff, scattered hairs; achenes beaked, with plumose (feather-
Picris hieracioides L. was collected in British Columbia on
Cedar Hill (=Mt. Douglas), Victoria, in 1887 (Macoun, CAN -
cited in Groh, H. 1947. Canadian Weed Survey, 4-th Report 1945,
p. 44) and two years ago east of Greenwood on Phoenix Mine Road,
at the base of the roadside, mine waste clearing about 4 km to
highway # 3 to Grand Forks (Frank Lomer s.n., 12 July 1993 -
Picris echioides L. has been reported from Alberta, Saskatchewan
and Ontario. One plant of this species appeared in a potato
patch in Dave Coombes' garden in Victoria (Government at Niagara
Str., Adolf Ceska, # 29629, August 15, 1995 - V).
NEW PUBLICATION - CHESS LYONS REVISED
Lyons, C.P. & Bill Merilees. 1995. Trees, shrubs & flowers to
know in British Columbia & Washington. Lone Pine Pub-
lishing, Edmonton, Alberta. 375 p. ISBN 1-55105-044-7
[softcover] CDN$ 18.95, US$ 15.95
The first edition of Chess Lyons' popular guide was published in
1952. The original guide (written for "scouts and grandmothers")
has been revised again, for the fourth time. The new publisher
retained the original typeset and Chess Lyons' line drawings,
including the mysterious picture of a man with a hat and a tie
(Chess Lyons himself?), used as a scale for shrubs. A new sec-
tion with over 400 colour photographs of plants has been added
as a help for identification.
The publisher has a toll-free phone number: 1-800-661-9017 and a
toll-free FAX number: 1-800-424-7173.
DISCUSSION LIST FOR PEOPLE INTERESTED IN HERBARIA
From: Dr. Mary Barkworth <STIPOID at CC.USU.EDU>
During the last few years, several of us in the Pacific
Northwest and Intermountain Region have met on various occasions
to discuss topics of mutual interest concerning our herbaria. A
topic at each of these meetings has been databasing, sharing
information, and making the value of the collections in our care
better known and better appreciated, both internally and exter-
nally. One way of doing this that we discussed was making it
possible to obtain distributional information from several
herbaria at one time.
After talking with Brand Niemann of the National Biological
Service and reading the recent bulletin that came out from NBS,
it seems like this might be a good time to start moving forward
to a formal proposal. To help in the development of a coopera-
tive proposal, Jim Smith at Boise State University has formed a
newsgroup for exchanging ideas, comments, etc.. To subscribe to
the newsgroup, send a message to: listserv at idbsu.idbsu.edu [or
listserv at idbsu.bitnet]. Leave the subject line blank. The mes-
sage to send is: subscribe HERB-L your ordinary name. For in-
stance, my message would be: subscribe HERB-L Mary Barkworth
Once subscribed, when you wish to communicate with anyone con-
cerning matters that relate to herbaria of the Pacific Northwest
and/or Intermountain Region, use: HERB-L at idbsu.idbsu.edu as the
address. Lower case (herb-l) works, but you need to know that
last character is the letter l, not the number 1.
Submissions, subscriptions, etc.: aceska at freenet.victoria.bc.ca
BEN is archived on gopher freenet.victoria.bc.ca. The URL is:
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