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      Total synthesis of taxol

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          Abstract

          Taxol, a substance originally isolated from the Pacific yew tree (Taxus brevifolia) more than two decades ago, has recently been approved for the clinical treatment of cancer patients. Hailed as having provided one of the most significant advances in cancer therapy, this molecule exerts its anticancer activity by inhibiting mitosis through enhancement of the polymerization of tubulin and consequent stabilization of microtubules. The scarcity of taxol and the ecological impact of harvesting it have prompted extension searches for alternative sources including semisynthesis, cellular culture production and chemical synthesis. The latter has been attempted for almost two decades, but these attempts have been thwarted by the magnitude of the synthetic challenge. Here we report the total synthesis of taxol by a convergent strategy, which opens a chemical pathway for the production of both the natural product itself and a variety of designed taxoids.

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          Most cited references 9

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          Taxol: a novel investigational antimicrotubule agent.

          Microtubules are among the most strategic subcellular targets of anticancer chemotherapeutics. Despite this fact, new antimicrotubule agents that possess unique mechanisms of cytotoxic action and have broader antineoplastic spectra than the vinca alkaloids have not been introduced over the last several decades--until the recent development of taxol. Unlike classical antimicrotubule agents like colchicine and the vinca alkaloids, which induce depolymerization of microtubules, taxol induces tubulin polymerization and forms extremely stable and nonfunctional microtubules. Taxol has demonstrated broad activity in preclinical screening studies, and antineoplastic activity has been observed in several classically refractory tumors. These tumors include cisplatin-resistant ovarian carcinoma in phase II trials and malignant melanoma and non-small cell lung carcinoma in phase I studies. Taxol's structural complexity has hampered the development of feasible processes for synthesis, and its extreme scarcity has limited the use of a conventional, broad-scale screening approach for evaluation of clinical antitumor activity. However, taxol's unique mechanism of action, its spectrum of preclinical antitumor activity, and tumor responses in early clinical trials have generated renewed interest in pursuing its development.
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            Carbonyl-coupling reactions using low-valent titanium

             John McMurry (1989)
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              Chemistry and Biology of Taxol

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature
                Nature
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                0028-0836
                1476-4687
                February 1994
                February 1994
                : 367
                : 6464
                : 630-634
                Article
                10.1038/367630a0
                7906395
                © 1994

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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