DR TIM EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR TIM EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Taxol chemotherapy drug. Computer model of a molecule of the chemotherapy drug taxol (generic name paclitaxel). Atoms are represented as rods and are colour-coded; carbon (pink), hydrogen (white), oxygen (green) and nitrogen (orange). Taxol was first isolated from the bark of the Pacific yew tree (Taxus brevifolia), but is now made synthetically. The drug acts by stabilising microtubules, part of the cell cytoskeleton involved in cell division. The microtubules become unable to disassemble and so cannot move chromosomes around the cell. Taxol is used to treat ovarian, breast and non-small cell lung cancer.
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