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Science Lab


The Role of Natural Products and Their Multitargeted Approach to Treat Solid Cancer

Natural products play a critical role in the discovery and development of numerous drugs for the treatment of various types of cancer. These phytochemicals have demonstrated anti- carcinogenic properties by interfering with the initiation, development, and progression of cancer through altering various mechanisms such as cellular proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, an- giogenesis, and metastasis. Treating multifactorial diseases, such as cancer with agents targeting a single target, might lead to limited success and, in many cases, unsatisfactory outcomes. Various epidemiological studies have shown that the steady consumption of fruits and vegetables is intensely associated with a reduced risk of cancer. Since ancient period, plants, herbs, and other natural products have been used as healing agents. Likewise, most of the medicinal ingredients accessible today are originated from the natural resources. Regardless of achievements, developing bioactive compounds and drugs from natural products has remained challenging, in part because of the problem associated with large-scale sequestration and mechanistic understanding. With significant progress in the landscape of cancer therapy and the rising use of cutting-edge technologies, we may have come to a crossroads to review approaches to identify the potential natural products and investigate their therapeutic efficacy. In the present review, we summarize the recent developments in natural products-based cancer research and its application in generating novel systemic strategies with a focus on underlying molecular mechanisms in solid cancer.

Natural products in drug discovery: advances and opportunities

Natural products and their structural analogues have historically made a major contribution to pharmacotherapy, especially for cancer and infectious diseases. Nevertheless, natural products also present challenges for drug discovery, such as technical barriers to screening, isolation, characterization and optimization, which contributed to a decline in their pursuit by the pharmaceutical industry from the 1990s onwards. In recent years, several technological and scientific developments — including improved analytical tools, genome mining and engineering strategies, and microbial culturing advances — are addressing such challenges and opening up new opportunities. Consequently, interest in natural products as drug leads is being revitalized, particularly for tackling antimicrobial resistance. Here, we summarize recent technological developments that are enabling natural product-based drug discovery, highlight selected applications and discuss key opportunities

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