Natural products have been found to be useful in the treatment of several diseases across the ages. In this article, we review the use of natural products, obtained from dietary sources, as lead compounds in developing novel therapeutic agents. These compounds have shown tremendous promise in the prevention and as well as treatment of a variety of chronic ailments. In addition, to being patentable and biocompatible, these compounds are a rich source of novel scaffolds to invigorate the pipelines of the pharmaceutical industry. In this communication, we also focus on studies which show how natural products have proved useful as lead compounds in virtual screening and structure-based drug design programs. Natural dietary constituents, such as resveratrol, curcumin and caffeine as well as other compounds, are discussed to illustrate this approach.
Keywords: Caffeine, chemoprevention, curcumin, genistein, istradefylline, resveratrol, lead compounds, biocompatible, novel scaffolds, virtual screening, cancer, phytochemicals
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