Nitrogen-containing bioactive alkaloids of plant origin play a significant role in human health and medicine. Several semisynthetic antimitotic alkaloids are successful in anticancer drug development. Gloriosa superba biosynthesizes substantial quantities of colchicine, a bioactive
molecule for gout treatment. Colchicine also has antimitotic activity, preventing growth of cancer cells by interacting with microtubules, which could lead to the design of better cancer therapeutics. Further, several colchicine semisynthetics are less toxic than colchicine. Research is being
conducted on effective, less toxic colchicine semisynthetic formulations with potential drug delivery strategies directly targeting multiple solid cancers. This article reviews the dynamic state of anticancer drug development from colchicine semisynthetics and natural colchicine production
and briefly discusses colchicine biosynthesis.
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