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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Investigation of Biologically Active Secondary Metabolites from Marine Sponges


Natural products chemistry is the study of compounds produced by living organisms. There are several motivations for this pursuit such as chemotaxonomical studies, accumulation of general knowledge of the field, ecological studies, and the identification of potential pharmaceuticals. By far, the greatest amount of attention is focused on the search for novel structures that can be used as medicines in the treatment of human diseases. The process from initial screening of organisms to the patient is a long and arduous process (see Scheme 1.1).1 For this reason it is critical to have a solid search strategy that has a history of success and sound prospects for the future. In these regards natural products have been extremely successful. According to a recent survey based on the number of prescriptions in 1993.57% of the top-selling 150 pharmaceutical products contained active ingredients that were natural products, derivatives, or analogs of natural products.1 In addition, over 60% of the anticancer and anti-infective agents that are approved drugs or pre-NDA (New Drug Approval) candidates between 1989 to 1995 originate from a natural source.2

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