Dr. Changwei Wang
Dr. Changwei Wang
State University of New York, USA
Title: Cultivation and Medicinal Application of Mairei Yew (Taxus wallichiana Zucc var mairei)
Taxus wallichiana Zucc var mairei, the fastest growing variants of genus Taxus, is endemic to China and now widely cultivated for both ornamental and medicinal purposes. Although it was used as herbal medicine in history to treat ailments like gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory problems and skeletal system disorders, yew tree was seriously in need only after taxol was released as a blockbuster anticancer drug in 1992. It has been so heavily exploited due to high demand for paclitaxel that Mairei Yew was listed as the first grade protected precious species in China. While persistent over-harvesting of the wild population has resulted in serious environmental problems, various efforts in commercial production of taxoids have been unsuccessful. It has, therefore, been widely accepted that large-scale cultivation of the plants offers the most practical approach to commercial production of taxoids via semi-synthesis. Therefore, Mairei Yew was heavily invested and cultivated in southeastern China, particularly in Fujian and Jiangsu provinces. Since the contents of taxanes in yew tree are significantly affected by various factors such as species, environment, season, age, tissue, storage and some chemical reagents, to increase the levels of valuable taxanes we have carried substantial amount of large-scale experiments in industry. It was found that the selection of elite clones, pretreatment with certain hormones and drying method of raw biomass are critical for the production. Now although paclitaxel and docetaxel have been extensively used in clinic for more than 20 years, active investigations for their clinical applications, particularly new formulation and combination therapy, are still ongoing and very promising due to the limits of immunotherapy. And their manufacturing and clinical use have been consistently activating the generic drug market, especially in developing countries such as China and India. The 2016 annual revenue of paclitaxel is still the No. 1 in the Chinese domestic market of anticancer drugs. Moreover, historically yew has been an important ornamental tree, especially in the west. Thus, the cultivation study of yew is extremely important for both pharmaceutical industry and horticulture.
Dr. Changwei Wang has been studying the biology of yew tree and the medicinal chemistry of taxanes for more than 10 years, currently working as a postdoc at State University of New York at Stony Brook. He received his first PhD of Ecology in 2005 from Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou China, and the second PhD of Medicinal Chemistry in 2017 from State University of New York at Stony Brook, USA. He had been worked in industry for 6 years and now has two ongoing projects in Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health, Chinese Academy of Science, focusing on the design, synthesis and development of novel taxoids and the drug delivery systems. In addition, he has also been participating the research of infectious diseases.