There is room for plant biotechnology in the fight against cancer

CBGP researchers of the Scientific Area ‘Synthetic Biology and Bioengineering’, together with researchers of the CIEMAT ‘Molecular Oncology Unit’ and the Institute of Research of the Hospital ‘12 de Octubre’ in Madrid, have shown the ability of plant viral nanoparticles, acting as carriers of polyphenols obtained from plant secondary metabolism, to inhibit growth of tumor cells.


In the fight against cancer, the use of nanoparticles as carrier vectors of anti-tumor drugs is an emerging trend and one of the most promising innovative therapies. A special group is formed by the nanoparticles derived from viruses. Among these, nanoparticles derived from plant viruses is becoming a highly valued one. In this work, two sources of plant biomolecules, nanoparticles derived from Turnip mosaic virus and polyphenols from plant secondary metabolism, have been put together in order to inhibit growth and induce cell death in human cancer cells.

The results obtained allow an optimistic view of the idea that Plant Biotechnology also has a place in Biomedicine, particularly in the fight against cancer.

This work derives from a fructiferous collaboration between the CBGP group ‘Plant Virus Biotechnology’, led by Dr. Fernando Ponz, and two other groups from different centers, the group led by Dr. Corina Lorz from the ‘Molecular Oncology Group’ of CIEMAT, and Sara Asensio from the Hospital ’12 de Octubre’ in Madrid.


Original Paper:

Velázquez-Lam, E., Tome-Amat, J., Segrelles, C., Yuste-Calvo, C., Asensio, S., Peral, J., Ponz, F., Lorz, C. 2022. Antitumor applications of polyphenol-conjugated turnip mosaic virus-derived nanoparticles. Nanomedicine. DOI: 10.2217/nnm-2022-0067