Another shot for taxol

TAXOL, the anti-cancer wonder drug extracted from the leaves and bark of the yew tree, has found another target. Researchers at the University of California School of Medicine say that polycystic kidney diseases (PKD), the most common hereditary kidney disease which accounts for 10 per cent of the patients requiring kidney transplants or dialysis, can be treated with taxol (Nature, Vol 369, No 6476).

The findings show that untreated PKD-afflicted mice died within 30 days, but when they were treated with taxol they lived 30 days longer. Taxol-treated mice also had fewer and less swollen cysts characteristic of this disease.