IMR Press / FBS / Volume 11 / Issue 1 / DOI: 10.2741/S532

Frontiers in Bioscience-Scholar (FBS) is published by IMR Press from Volume 13 Issue 1 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.


Anticancer potential of natural products: a review focusing on Sri Lankan plants

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1 Interdisciplinary Centre for Innovations in Biotechnology and Neurosciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayawardenepura, Sri Lanka
2 Genetic Diagnostics and Research Laboratory, Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayawardenepura, Sri Lanka
3 Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka
4 Institute of Indigenous Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

*Correspondence: (Anchala I. Kuruppu)

Front. Biosci. (Schol Ed) 2019, 11(1), 161–177;
Published: 1 March 2019

In the pharmaceutical industry, the expected surge in production of new therapeutic entities promised by technological advances, such as high-throughput screening, synthetic libraries and advances in molecular biology and genomics, has not materialized. The unique structural diversity of natural products continues to provide opportunities to discover novel compounds. Secondary metabolites, active components of natural products such as marine organisms, microbial organisms and terrestrial plants, are particularly exciting untapped resources for exploration as medicines. Sri Lanka is home to around 3700 plant species, half of which are considered as medicinal plants. Seventy per cent of the Sri Lankan population relies on this plant-based traditional medicine system for treating various illnesses such as tumors. As such these medicinal plant sources should be used to conquer terminal diseases and for prevention of diseases. Sri Lankan researchers have found several plant species that possess cytotoxic activity. This review summarizes the current information regarding the Sri Lankan plant materials that possess anticancer properties.

Anticancer activity
Chemical compounds
Natural products
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