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Microtubule-Stabilizing Natural Products as Promising Cancer Therapeutics

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Paclitaxel and related taxanes exhibit their anticancer activity by promoting tubulin polymerization and stabilizing microtubules, which results in mitotic G2/M arrest and apoptosis. The clinical success of paclitaxel in treating a wide array of tumor types has led to numerous efforts to identify novel natural products with paclitaxel-like mechanisms of action, but which may overcome some of the liabilities of the taxanes. Although the list of natural products that share the paclitaxel-like mechanism is relatively small, it continues to expand and currently includes a number of structurally distinct classes. Despite the mechanistic similarities between these classes, differences exist which may translate into their differential efficacy in the clinic. The past several years have seen a considerable amount of pre-clinical and clinical progress in developing these novel microtubule-stabilizing natural products as cancer therapeutics. This review focuses primarily on recent advances published since 2002.
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Keywords: Microtubule-stabilizing; anticancer; antitumor; discodermolide; epothilone; laulimalide; natural product; paclitaxel

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Alantos Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 840 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

Publication date: 2007-12-01

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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