Natural Choice

Taxol StructureNature has provided the stock for pharmacy shelves for hundreds of years and is the ultimate medicinal chemist, according to research published in the March 23 issue of Journal of Natural Products.

David Newman and Gordon Craig of the National Cancer Institute demonstrated that less than a third of important “new chemical entities (NCEs)” found between 1981 and 2006 were entirely synthetic compounds as opposed to derivatives of naturally occurring molecules. The remaining 70% of the NCEs introduced during the last quarter century were natural products, obtained from sources such as plants and animals or designed to mimic natural product structures.

Natural products range from aspirin (originally obtained from the willow tree) to Taxol, the anticancer drug discovered in the Pacific yew tree. About half of all anti-cancer drugs introduced since the 1940s are either natural products or medicines derived directly from natural products, according to the researchers.

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Author: bob投注平台

Award-winning freelance science writer, author of Deceived Wisdom. Sharp-shooting photographer and wannabe rockstar.