Natural Products as Anti-Cancer Agents

Cancer is a major cause of deaths all around the globe. Although numerous anticancer drugs are available, most of them are expensive and have serious side effects. Natural compounds are usually non-toxic and inexpensive. Many such compounds have been identified and explored for their health benefits for centuries, and several nutritional factors derived from natural products have attracted considerable attention as therapeutic agents for the prevention and treatment of cancer.
Dietary sources of natural products are assumed to have anti-cancer benefits include fruits, vegetables and spices yielding biologically active components such as curcumin, resveratrol, cucurbitacins, isoflavones, saponins, phytosterols, lycopene, and many others.  39 natural compounds from marine species, mostly invertebrates, and 10 from microorganisms, mostly from bacteria of the Streptomyces genus has been identified as potential new anti-cancer agents. Cancer is a well-recognized global health problem responsible for 7.6 million deaths (13% of all deaths) worldwide, which is expected to rise to 13.1 million by 2030 Despite the progress in the field of cancer research, both developing and developed countries are in the grip of this deadly disease, and still there is a need to discover and develop anti-cancer therapeutic agents.
The plant based drug discovery resulted mainly in the development of anticancer agents including plants (vincristine, vinblastine, etoposide, paclitaxel, camptothecin, topotecan and irinotecan), marine organisms (citarabine, aplidine and dolastatin 10) and micro-organisms (dactinomycin,  bleomycin and doxorubicin). Beside this there is numerous agents identified from fruits and vegetables can used in anticancer therapy. Plants have a long history of use in the treatment of cancer and it is significant that over 60% of currently used anti-cancer agents are come from natural sources. Nature is an attractive source of new therapeutic candidate compounds as a tremendous chemical diversity is found in millions of species of plants, animals, marine organisms and microorganisms as potential anti-cancer agent.
  • Marine organisms having antineoplastic activity
  • Potent alkaloidal neurotoxins
  • Polyketide neurotoxins
  • Preclinical anticancer lead compounds
  • In vitro and in vivo anticancer and antioxidant assays
  • Multitude of mixed biogenesis metabolites

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