A new product which could help reduce the debilitating effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy among cancer sufferers is being produced from pine bark.
Researchers from HortResearch and Enzo Nutraceuticals in New Zealand are working together to develop a range of botanical drug products which they hope will be effective in fighting not only cancer but also other serious diseases such as Alzheimer's, heart disease and stroke.Aegis BioActives, as the joint venture between the two companies is called, was formed after 15 months of collaborative research led by cell biologist Dr Iona Weir.
Weir had been testing compounds for ways to inhibit cell death when she came across Enzo's dietary supplement Enzogenol, which contains antioxidants extracted from pinus radiate bark. She discovered that the extract was more potent than anything else she had tested, and this discovery was the start of the collaboration between the two companies.
"The biggest thing to me is that we're using biotechnology to develop natural extracts while everybody else in New Zealand is using biotechnology to develop pharmaceuticals," she told the New Zealand Herald newspaper.
The pine bark extract is produced using a patented process which Enzo claims does not damage the antioxidant extract because it uses water rather than chemicals. Enzogenol is sold both in New Zealand and internationally.