Addressing supply issues for natural products in the clinic

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Science  13 Oct 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6360, pp. 166-167
DOI: 10.1126/science.aao5346

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Natural products isolated from marine sources have served as the basis for numerous structurally intriguing compounds with potent biological activity (1). Securing access to sufficient quantities of these often scarce compounds is frequently a key impediment to demonstrating their clinical potential. Strategies to overcome this “supply problem,” include harvesting natural source organisms, aquaculture, cell culture of compound-producing organisms (i.e., microbial symbionts), and chemical synthesis (13). On page 218 of this issue, Wender et al. (4) report a new approach to addressing supply issues associated with the marine natural product bryostatin 1—an efficient chemical synthesis. This synthesis provides increased access to this potent protein kinase C modulator and should facilitate continued clinical investigation of bryostatin 1 as an anticancer agent, Alzheimer's treatment, and HIV latency-reversing agent (5).