How to Produce Lots of
Cancer Drugs Sustainably?

Presented by Duke iGEM

Identifying Cancer Drug in Short Supply

Our case is taxol, a famous chemotherapy drug that derives its chemistry from Pacific Yew Tree barks.

Error: Embedded data could not be displayed.

Annotated Taxol 2D Structure (3D Structure in Project Page)

PDB Citation: Bank, RCSB Protein Data. "TAXOL." RCSB PDB. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2016.

The lack of chemotherapy drugs risks patients' lives. Taxol is a famous and effective cancer drug whose production rests on the steady supply of Pacific Yew Trees. However, as more people develop cancer, Pacific Yew Trees are being overharvested and endangered.

In the forseeable future, there will be fewer Yew Trees. Taxol will become less affordable for patients. Worse, when Yew Trees become extinct, Taxol will lose its most essential ingredient. What can we do?

After an analysis of Yew Trees' genetic structure relevant to taxol production, we identified eight transferrable essential genetic sequences for producing taxol ingredients.

Therefore, it's possible to reinvent taxol production. The next important step is to find the perfect replacement producer to relieve the Yew Trees of their noble duty.

Rethink the Production Process

New producer will dramatically increase taxol production, allow Pacific Yew Trees a permanent break from overharvest and danger of extinction.


Bacterial Production in a controlled lab is safe and sustainable, with a dramatically larger yield!

At Duke iGEM, we have already begun the process of sequentially arranging these genes and growing bacteria with these new powers.

We believe our idea is implementable and has a revolutionary positive impact on future treatments of cancer, saving more lives at a lower cost.

@ 2016 Duke University iGEM