Discovery of Camptothecin
Taxol is arguably the most celebrated,
talked about and controversial natural product in recent years
Goodman and Vivien Walsh, The Story of Taxol: Nature and Politics in
the Pursuit of an Anti-Cancer Drug.
Monroe Wall, Mansukh Wani, and colleagues at the Natural Products Laboratory
of the Research Triangle Institute discovered and elucidated the structure
Taxol® and camptothecin, two life-saving compounds for
the treatment of cancer. These natural products kill cancer cells via
unique mechanisms of action and in ways scientists had not previously
imagined. The work of this research team led to the eventual development
and marketing of drugs that have been approved for treatment of ovarian,
breast, lung, and colon cancer and Kaposis sarcoma.
The American Chemical Society designated the discovery of camptothecin
and Taxol® a National Historic Chemical Landmark at the
Research Triangle Institute in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina,
on April 23, 2003.
Note: Taxol® is a registered trademark of Bristol-Myers
Squibb and camptothecin
is a trademark of the Research Triangle Institute