Plant-Derived Compounds and Their Potential Role in Drug Development

Plant-Derived Compounds and Their Potential Role in Drug Development

Dimitrios Kaloudas (Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Sofia, Bulgaria) and Robert Penchovsky (Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Sofia, Bulgaria)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/IJBCE.2018010104

Abstract

This article describes how with the development of biotechnology, plants have gained again a prominent place as a relatively inexpensive source for the creation of recombinant pharmaceuticals. Plant-derived compounds have started playing a major role in the pharmaceutical industry with many plant-based products to have found their way in drugs and chemicals used for the treatment of different diseases and their symptoms. Plant-derived compounds have been tested for the treatment of several types of cancer, Central Nervous System disorders, as enhancers during chemotherapy and as vessels for targeted drug delivery. Genetically modified plant cells have been recruited for the production of therapeutic agencies as well as in the creation of expression systems for virus-like particles that could be used as vaccines. Moreover, microRNAs mimicking the plant ones have the ability to inhibit tumors in mammalian cells. This review describes plant-derived compounds and their properties as potential therapeutic agents and precursors for the development of novel drugs in the pharmaceutical industry.
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Introduction

Nature’s botanical medicines were exercised by the humans from the early times. Plants and their extracts were used as painkillers, relaxing or trance-inducing state agents, hallucinogens for spiritual enlightenment, and for the treatment of diseases. Nowadays plants play a major role in the research and development of various therapeutic agents, including the treatment of the HIV (Cichewicz & Kouzi, 2004) and neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer (Eckert, 2010; Hassaan et al., 2014; Rios, Onteniente, Picazo, & Montesinos, 2016). At the beginning of the modern medicine, plant-based compounds were used for the production of the first drugs such as the morphine (Courtwright, 2009). Until the era of the synthetic medicals and the production of the antibiotics (Blount, Puskarz, Penchovsky, & Breaker, 2006; Robert Penchovsky & Stoilova, 2013; R. Penchovsky & Traykovska, 2015), plant substances were the basis of the early medicines and still nowadays in undeveloped areas of the word botanical medicines are still being exercised. With the thriving of biotechnology, plants have become again a target for the development of plant-based pharmaceutical agents and drugs. In comparison to the methods used for bacterial and mammalian cell cultures, plants have become a prominent research subject as there are relatively inexpensive to grow, maintain and can be easily scaled up to produce large product quantities (Twyman, Schillberg, & Fischer, 2005), an important aspect for the production of pharmaceutical products of high demand that greatly needed in the developing countries (Sparrow, Irwin, Dale, Twyman, & Ma, 2007). Plant compounds have been tested nowadays in various treatments including, antibacterial and antiviral actions, Central Nervous System (CNS) disorders, chemotherapy enhancers and cancer therapies.

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