Growing affordable medicines in plants

The medicines of the future could be taken by nibbling a sunflower seed or drinking a cup of tea.

IMB’s innovative researchers in The Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Facility for Producing Pharmaceuticals in Plants could revolutionise medicine as we know it and bring affordable, more effective options to patients, particularly the world's poor.

Our researchers discovered cyclic peptides that are naturally produced in plants, and are repurposing these to turn plants into factories for medicines that could treat cancer, pain, diabetes, obesity, and autoimmune, cardiovascular and infectious diseases.

These medicines will be more targeted than many current options, more potent, and potentially safer as peptides break down into amino acids, the same as those found in our food.

This revolution in medicine production could have huge impacts in the third world, where many regions are devastated by diseases such as HIV/AIDS, because although effective drugs exist, they're just too expensive.

The research team has already made progress with a pain relief medicine combining venom peptides from a cone snail and a plant called Arabidopsis. With your support, the team could begin work on medicines to treat more diseases, and progress these medicines more quickly to widespread use. 

In particular, additional support would help us fast track promising work on peptide medicines for prostate cancer and leukaemia, and help us accelerate exciting work with petunia and sunflower plants as biofactories for these medicines.

Donate now to help us grow the affordable medicines of the future