Intended for healthcare professionals


Tree that provides paclitaxel is put on list of endangered species

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 15 November 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7411
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

Overharvesting of one of the trees that are sources of paclitaxel, a chemotherapy drug used to treat several cancers, has led to its classification as endangered in the latest global list of threatened species, published last week.

The tree, Taxus contorta, a yew that grows in Afghanistan, India, and Nepal, has been classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, a non-profit organisation funded by governments and other organisations, in its latest “red list” of species at risk of extinction.

Its conservation status has changed from vulnerable to endangered because the …

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