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      Drug discovery from natural sources

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      The AAPS Journal

      Springer Nature America, Inc

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          Drug discovery from medicinal plants.

          Current research in drug discovery from medicinal plants involves a multifaceted approach combining botanical, phytochemical, biological, and molecular techniques. Medicinal plant drug discovery continues to provide new and important leads against various pharmacological targets including cancer, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer's, malaria, and pain. Several natural product drugs of plant origin have either recently been introduced to the United States market, including arteether, galantamine, nitisinone, and tiotropium, or are currently involved in late-phase clinical trials. As part of our National Cooperative Drug Discovery Group (NCDDG) research project, numerous compounds from tropical rainforest plant species with potential anticancer activity have been identified. Our group has also isolated several compounds, mainly from edible plant species or plants used as dietary supplements, that may act as chemopreventive agents. Although drug discovery from medicinal plants continues to provide an important source of new drug leads, numerous challenges are encountered including the procurement of plant materials, the selection and implementation of appropriate high-throughput screening bioassays, and the scale-up of active compounds.
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            Drugs from the deep: marine natural products as drug candidates.

            In recent years, marine natural product bioprospecting has yielded a considerable number of drug candidates. Most of these molecules are still in preclinical or early clinical development but some are already on the market, such as cytarabine, or are predicted to be approved soon, such as ET743 (Yondelis). Research into the ecology of marine natural products has shown that many of these compounds function as chemical weapons and have evolved into highly potent inhibitors of physiological processes in the prey, predators or competitors of the marine organisms that use them. Some of the natural products isolated from marine invertebrates have been shown to be, or are suspected to be, of microbial origin and this is now thought to be the case for the majority of such molecules. Marine microorganisms, whose immense genetic and biochemical diversity is only beginning to be appreciated, look likely to become a rich source of novel chemical entities for the discovery of more effective drugs.
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              Chemistry. The renaissance of natural products as drug candidates.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                The AAPS Journal
                AAPS J
                Springer Nature America, Inc
                1550-7416
                June 2006
                June 2006
                : 8
                : 2
                : E239-E253
                Article
                10.1007/BF02854894
                © 2006
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