THE DISCOVERY OF TAXOL®

The chemotherapy drug paclitaxel (Taxol®), used in breast, ovarian and lung cancer treatment is derived from Taxus brevifolia.  As it was already becoming scarce when its chemotherapeutic potential was realized, the Pacific yew was never commercially harvested from its habitat on a large scale; the widespread use of the paclitaxel (Taxol) was enabled when a semi-synthetic pathway was developed from extracts of cultivated yews of other species.

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