||The Centro Pluridisciplinar de Pesquisas Químicas, Biológicas e Agrícolas (CPQBA) is located at Betel, 8 Km distant from UNICAMP campus, with 8.000m2 of constructed area and 40 hectares of experimental campus. Nowadays, CPQBA is composed of the following Divisions: Agro-technology, Phytochemistry, Organic Chemistry and Pharmaceutics, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Microbiology, Residues, Biotechnology and Microbial Resources.
Due to its multidisciplinary aspect, most of the research projects are developed in an integrated way, involving its various Divisions, which is unique among Brazilian research centers. The work with plant specimens includes the search for new drugs with anti-cancer, anti-microbial, anti-ulcerogenic, analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities, integrating the following Divisions: Agro-technology, Pharmaceutic Chemistry, Phytochemistry, Microbiology and Pharmacology. Therefore, it is possible to carry out complete studies from cultivation to isolation, identification, structural modifications, pharmacological mechanisms of action as well as toxicity of the products. Industrial methods are also developed in order to obtain products from microbial origin through fermentative processes, especially alcoholic fermentation.
Supported either by fomentation agencies or funds from services rendered, several projects resulted in scientific publications, patent requests, prize winning, pharmaceutical products, development of industrial plants and master and doctor’s degrees. In addition to projects supported by fomentation agencies, CPQBA has joint ventures with many companies in the chemical-pharmaceutical and nutritional field, such as Aché, EMS, Natura, Bayer, Corn, Ativus, BASF, Hoesch, Herbarium, Welleda.
In the last years, the Agro-technology Division has worked in the domestication and selection of various medicinal species of our native Flora holding the basic technology for cultivation and after-harvest processing as well as the selection of superior genotypes for the following medicinal specimens: Artemisia annua, Pfaffia glomerata, Baccharis trimera, Achyrocline satureioides, Phyllanthus amarus, P. niruri, Maytenus ilicifolia, Mikania glomerata, Mikania laevigata, Pilocarpus microphyllus, Stevia rebaudiana, Cecropia glaziouii, Cordia curassavica, Cichorium intybus and Catharanthus roseous.
Thanks to researches supported by CNPq (380693/96-8), Fapesp (95/9607-5) as well as funds obtained from rendering services, CPQBA-UNICAMP has developed two projects which evaluated the anti-cancer potential of different plant specimens from the Amazon region and the Cerrado from the State of São Paulo. A part of the fund raised was used for the implantation of the Laboratory of Human Cancer Cell Culture. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) donated tumoral cell strains making it possible to follow the same methodology used in this Research Center. Besides refining cell culture techniques, the coordinator of the Pharmacology and Toxicology Division of CPQBA had a two-month probation period in the NCI Frederick Cancer Research & Development where he analyzed seventy-seven extracts from these two projects (60 tumor cell strains), previously evaluated at CPQBA in a nine-strain panel. Even though those projects had not been planned to compare the activities of crude extracts of plants from these ecosystems (the cerrado and the Amazon jungle), the best results were obtained from the specimens from cerrado region. Among these, nine species were selected for further studies. They were recollected and submitted to fractioning guided by the anticancer activity tests.
Following this same assay, some active principles have been isolated. Their chemical structure is being determined by the Phytochemistry Division of CPQBA (Fapesp 01/04872-5). Moreover, in vivo studies are being carried out using hollow fiber implants (Hollingshead et al 1995) (CNPq 47271/01-3). The consolidation of the in vitro assay by the Pharmacology and Toxicology Division of CPQBA, has enabled the interaction of various research groups both from CPQBA as well as from UNICAMP and many other national and international research institutes (ESALQ-USP, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Universidade Estadual de Maringá, Unesp-Araraquara, Universidade Bandeirante, Universidade Paulista and Universidade de Rosario e de Córdoba, Argentina). This interaction has allowed the evaluation of anti-proliferative activity of hundreds of crude extracts, active principles and substances obtained from synthesis generating presentations in congresses, publications, patent requests, prize winning and post-graduation degrees.
The Microbiology Division has studied the anti-microbial activities of both medicinal and aromatic plants cultivated in the region of Campinas (Fapesp 99/09081-6). Among these, several extracts and essential oils showed anti-microbial activity especially against S. aureus, S. faecium e B. subtilis. In order to determine the seasonal behavior of species that showed the best in vitro results, periodic harvesting are being carried out [Spring 2002 (November), Summer (February), Autumn (May) and Winter (August 2003)]. This data will allow the isolation and identification of the active principle(s), monitored by the anti-microbial test.
The Microbiology Resources Division work with microorganism with biotechnological industrial and environmental use as well as screening for bioactive compounds and enzime with further production. Compiles information associated with microorganism data bases assessable to the public, contributing with RedeBIO information. The group has the capacity for microorganism isolation, activity assays and training of research groups