Although the natural product drug discovery programs of the large drug companies are now equaled by programs for the high throughput screening of synthetic compounds generated through combinatorial chemistry, natural compounds still hold great promise to overcome such problems as antibiotic resistance, the emergence of new diseases, the failure to conquer old diseases, and the toxicity of some contemporary medical products. In Natural Products: Drug Discovery and Therapeutic Medicine, a panel of recognized experts and leaders in the field discuss the past successes of natural products as medicines and review future possibilities arising from both conventional and new technologies. High-performance liquid chromatography profiling, combinatorial synthesis, genomics, proteomics, DNA shuffling, bioinformatics, and genetic manipulation all now make it possible to rapidly evaluate the activities of extracts as well as purified components derived from microbes, plants, and marine organisms. The authors apply these methods to new natural product drug discovery, to accessing microbial diversity, to investigating specific groups of products (Chinese herbal drugs, antitumor drugs from microbes and plants, terpenoids, and arsenic compounds), and to exploiting specific sources (the sea, rainforest, and endophytes). These new opportunities show how research and development trends in the pharmaceutical industry can advance to include both synthetic compounds and natural products, and how this paradigm shift can be more productive and efficacious.
State-of-the-art and forward looking, Natural Products: Drug Discovery and Therapeutic Medicine will inspire industrial and academic researchers, practitioners, and developers to once again explore natural products as key sources for the many new drugs needed to solve still unmet medical needs.