Penn Dental Research Greenhouse
Driven by a desire to provide inexpensive medicine to people in remote areas, Dr. Henry Daniell at the Penn Dental Research Greenhouse wants to use plants in a new medicinal capacity.
One of the biggest barriers in providing low-cost medical supplies to the developing world is the lack of refrigeration available on delivery routes. Vaccines contain pathogens, which must be refrigerated to prevent the organisms from reproducing and harming the people taking the medications.
Dr. Daniell seeks to use plants as shelf-stable incubators for the drugs. This would eliminate the need for costly or infeasible refrigeration. Additionally, plants are commonly consumed all over the world. Patients are unlikely to suffer allergic reactions from plant-based drugs, a common problem with synthetic drugs currently available.
In addition to Dr. Daniell’s work, the greenhouse has been home to a collaborative project between Penn Dental and Novo Nordisk, a project sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, and research funded by Bayer, a health care and pharmaceuticals company.