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Review of Noscapine and its Analogues as Potential Anti-Cancer Drugs

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Noscapine is an opium alkaloid which has been historically used as an anti-tussive medicine. Its activity is attributed to its ability to bind stoichiometrically to tubulin, thus arresting cell division at the metaphase stage and leading to apoptosis. Its action as a safe, low toxicity drug has been confirmed and many different routes of synthesizing its naturally occurring, biologically active (-)-α isomer have been established. While noscapine has many advantages over present anti-cancer drugs - such as low toxicity, safety, high bioactivity (especially against drug-resistant strains of cancer) and oral administration - it faces the drawback of requiring a large Effective Dose (ED50) to show significant bioactivity. The analogues of noscapine show much higher activity, making these compounds more desirable as anti- cancer agents. This review explores in-depth the chemistry of noscapine and its analogues synthesized till date, including brief discussions about the bioactivity of different derivatives. In the coming years, noscapine and its analogues will present an exciting avenue for cancer therapeutics.
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Keywords: Noscapine; anti-cancer drugs; benzazepine; cancer; drug discovery; synthesis

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: October 1, 2018

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  • Mini-Reviews in Organic Chemistry publishes original reviews on all areas of organic chemistry including synthesis, bioorganic, medicinal, natural products, organometallic, supramolecular, molecular recognition, and physical organic chemistry. The emphasis will be on publishing quality papers very rapidly. Mini-reviews will be processed rapidly by taking full advantage of Internet technology for both the submission and review of manuscripts.

    The journal is essential reading to all organic chemists in both academia and industry.
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