Vinca alkaloids are now produced synthetically and used as drugs in cancer therapy and as immunosuppressive drugs. These compounds include vinblastine, vincristine, vindesine, and vinorelbine. Additional researched vinca alkaloids include vincaminol, vineridine, and vinburnine. During cell division, vinca alkaloid molecules bind to the building blocks of a protein called tubulin, inhibiting its formation. The drugs work during the M-phase of cell reproduction. Tubulin protein normally works in cells to create “spindle fibers” (also called microtubules). Vincristine belongs to a class of chemotherapy drugs called plant alkaloids. Plant alkaloids are made from plants. The vinca alkaloids are made from the periwinkle plant (catharanthus rosea). The taxanes are made from the bark of the Pacific Yew tree (taxus). They are naturally extracted from the pink periwinkle plant, Catharanthus roseus G. Don and have a hypoglycemic as well as cytotoxic effects. They have been used to treat diabetes, high blood pressure and have been used as disinfectants. The vinca alkaloids are also important for being cancer fighters. Vinca Alkaloid. Vinca alkaloids are potential vesicants (57R, 58A, 59r) and accidental drug extravasation can cause severe soft tissue ulceration.
Chemotherapeutic agents, also referred to as antineoplastic agents, are used to directly or indirectly inhibit the proliferation of rapidly growing cells, typically in the context of malignancy.
Antineoplastic: Acting to prevent, inhibit or halt the development of a neoplasm (a tumor). An agent with antineoplastic properties. For example, oxaliplatin (Eloxatin) is an antineoplastic used in the treatment of metastatic colon cancer.
Taxanes are a class of diterpenes. They were originally identified from plants of the genus Taxus (yews), and feature a taxadiene core. Paclitaxel (Taxol) and docetaxel (Taxotere) are widely used as chemotherapy agents. Cabazitaxel was FDA approved to treat hormone-refractory prostate cancer.
Targeting microtubules for cancer chemotherapy. There is increasing evidence showing that even minor alteration of microtubule dynamics can engage the spindle checkpoint, arresting cell cycle progression at mitosis and eventually leading to apoptotic cell death.
Alkylating agents are compounds that work by adding an alkyl group to the guanine base of the DNA molecule, preventing the strands of the double helix from linking as they should. This causes breakage of the DNA strands, affecting the ability of the cancer cell to multiply. Eventually, the cancer cell dies.
Plant alkaloids. Plant alkaloids bind to microtubule proteins during metaphase, causing mitotic arrest. The cell cannot divide and dies. This group is mainly cell cycle phase specific for M phase.
The drug was initially discovered by a team led by Dr. J. G. Armstrong, then marketed by Eli Lilly and Company. Eli Lilly required lots of leaves of the periwinkle plant. They needed one ton of dried leaves to produce one ounce of vincristine.
Vinblastine works by stopping the cancer cells from separating into 2 new cells. So it blocks the growth of the cancer.
Periwinkle is the common name for this pretty plant that belongs to the dogbane or Apocynaceae family. The common, sun-loving vinca has the genus name catharanthus. Vinca major and vinca minor are shade-loving ground covers, and vinca vine is a trailer with variegated leaves often used in window boxes and containers.
Despite serious safety concerns, periwinkle is used for “brain health” (increasing blood circulation in the brain, supporting brain metabolism, increasing mental productivity, preventing memory and concentration problems and feebleness, improving memory and thinking ability, and preventing early aging of brain cells).
Periwinkle is a color in the blue and violet family. Its name is derived from the lesser periwinkle or myrtle herb (Vinca minor) which bears flowers of the same color. The color periwinkle is also called lavender blue. The color periwinkle may be considered a pale tint of blue or a "pastel blue".
Periwinkle alkaloids have been used in the treatment of leukemia, Hodgkin disease, malignant lymphomas, neuroblastoma, Wilms tumor, Kaposi sarcoma, mycosis fungoides, to improve cerebral blood flow, and treat high blood pressure.
Known as the Edible periwinkle, Common periwinkle or Winkle, it looks pretty similar to a land snail, with a dark brown or grey banded shell and little eye stalks poking out. The Edible periwinkle feeds by grazing on algae on the rocks using its rasping tongue, called a radula.
This valuable natural product has been used as an anti-cancer drug since it was discovered in the 1950s by a Canadian research team. A potent inhibitor of cell division and used against lymphomas and testicular, breast, bladder and lung cancers, it is found in the leaves of Madagascar periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus).