Natural Products Against Ovarian Cancer

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Many anticancer drugs are natural products or derived from natural compounds. In the 25 year period up to 2006, 100 new anticancer agents were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and only 22 were directly obtained from synthetic chemistry. It would seem logical to seek more anticancer agents from nature, but pharmaceutical companies have almost completely abandoned the use of natural products in their early drug discovery efforts because natural products are perceived to be too difficult to use in the ultra-high throughput screening approach preferred by companies.


In collaboration with the Translational Oncology Research Centre in Portsmouth, scientists at Strathclyde have developed a method which allows high throughput screening of anticancer agents directly on cells from samples of ovarian tumours from patients. We have tested plant extracts for the ability to stop cells from ovarian tumours growing. In initial tests, several plant extracts killed the tumour samples, taken from cancer patients. The extracts are complex mixtures of many different chemicals but ingredients in the plants could be used as starting points for new medicines to tackle the disease. The scientists are now planning further investigation of the most promising compounds.

Key Benefits

  • Novel compounds against ovarian cancer
  • Natural products
  • New method for high throughput screening of anti-cancer agents

Markets and Applications

Research could result in improved treatments for ovarian cancer based on natural products.

Licensing and Development

Although no patent applications have yet been made, the current hits have not been disclosed and are therefore still protected. Please contact if you are interested in accelerating the development of this drug discovery opportunity.