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Future Oncol. 2011 Aug;7(8):1007-21. doi: 10.2217/fon.11.69.

Interaction of natural products with cell survival and signaling pathways in the biochemical elucidation of drug targets in cancer.

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Cancer Pharmacology Division, Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (Council of Scientific & Industrial Research) Canal Road, Jammu-Tawi 180001, India.


The use of natural products with therapeutic properties is as ancient as human civilization and for a long time mineral, plant and animal products were the main sources of drugs. Worldwide sales of medicinal plants, crude extracts and finished products amounted to US$15 billion in 1999 and it increased to $23 billion in 2002. More interestingly, the influence of natural products upon anticancer drug discovery and design cannot be underestimated. Approximately 60% of all drugs in clinical trials are either a natural product, compounds derived from natural products or contain pharmacophores derived from active natural products. Thus, even today, in the presence of massive numbers of agents from combinatorial libraries, compounds from natural sources are still in the forefront of cancer chemotherapeutics as sources of active drug types, as well as being involved in drug discovery in diseases such as microbial and parasitic infections and the control of cholesterol/lipids, among other functions.

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