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      Natural products as leads to anticancer drugs.

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          Abstract

          Throughout history, natural products have afforded a rich source of compounds that have found many applications in the fields of medicine, pharmacy and biology. Within the sphere of cancer, a number of important new commercialised drugs have been obtained from natural sources, by structural modification of natural compounds, or by the synthesis of new compounds, designed following a natural compound as model. The search for improved cytotoxic agents continues to be an important line in the discovery of modern anticancer drugs. The huge structural diversity of natural compounds and their bioactivity potential have meant that several products isolated from plants, marine flora and microorganisms can serve as "lead" compounds for improvement of their therapeutic potential by molecular modification. Additionally, semisynthesis processes of new compounds, obtained by molecular modification of the functional groups of lead compounds, are able to generate structural analogues with greater pharmacological activity and with fewer side effects. These processes, complemented with high-throughput screening protocols, combinatorial chemistry, computational chemistry and bioinformatics are able to afford compounds that are far more efficient than those currently used in clinical practice. Combinatorial biosynthesis is also applied for the modification of natural microbial products. Likewise, advances in genomics and the advent of biotechnology have improved both the discovery and production of new natural compounds.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Clin Transl Oncol
          Clinical & translational oncology : official publication of the Federation of Spanish Oncology Societies and of the National Cancer Institute of Mexico
          Springer Science and Business Media LLC
          1699-048X
          1699-048X
          Dec 2007
          : 9
          : 12
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Departamento de Química Farmacéutica, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain. mliza@usal.es
          Article
          1130
          10.1007/s12094-007-0138-9
          18158980
          6153f506-86bb-441d-a567-35302a43b7e1
          History

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