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Camptotheca (happy tree, cancer tree, or tree of life) is a genus of medium-sized deciduous trees growing to 20 metres (66 ft) tall, native to southern China and Tibet. The genus is usually included in the tupelo family Nyssaceae, but sometimes included (with the tupelos) in the dogwood family Cornaceae.
There are two species:
The bark and stems of C. acuminata contain the alkaloid camptothecin. Several chemical derivatives of camptothecin are under investigation for or used as drugs for cancer treatment, including irinotecan, topotecan, rubitecan.
- Li, S.; Zhang, Z.; Cain, A.; Wang, B.; Long, M.; Taylor, J. (2005). "Antifungal Activity of Camptothecin, Trifolin, and Hyperoside Isolated from Camptotheca acuminata". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 53 (1): 32–37. doi:10.1021/jf0484780. PMID 15631505.
- G. Samuelsson (2004). Drugs of Natural Origin: a Textbook of Pharmacognosy (5 ed.). Stokkholm: Swedish pharmaceutical press. ISBN 91-974318-4-2.
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