BEN # 112

Adolf Ceska 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.
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 Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2
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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,
      70(2): 183.


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-
like) pappus.

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 -
UBC, V).

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.

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Submissions, subscriptions, etc.: aceska at freenet.victoria.bc.ca
BEN is archived on gopher freenet.victoria.bc.ca. The URL is:
gopher://freenet.victoria.bc.ca:70/11/environment/Botany/ben
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