Natural products have been the greatest source of novel medicines currently used in the treatment of several human diseases. In past decades, a notable quantity of natural molecules has been obtained from several marine sources. The huge biodiversity existing in the marine environment, from among which marine invertebrates stand out as a major contributors to the discovery of new molecules, has encouraged investigators from all over the world to identify new marine natural compounds with therapeutic potential. With the discovery of cytarabine and vidarabine in 1974 promising natural products isolated from marine invertebrates became part of the pharmacopeia used in human therapeutic. In 2004, ziconotide was approved for moderate to severe pain treatment and in 2007, trabectedin received European approval to treat patients with soft tissue sarcoma, and finally in 2009 it was approved for treatment of ovarian carcinoma. The largely unexplored marine world harbors a great biodiversity and provides a unique and rich source of natural products with interesting pharmaceutical activities and potential therapeutic applications. In this context, this chapter focuses on the marine invertebrates and reviews marine natural products that are currently being assessed in clinical trials and provides a glimpse of these compounds potential to expand the pharmacopeia in the treatment of diverse human diseases.
Keywords: Aquatic ecosystem, Bioactive activities, Bioactive compounds, Clinical trials, Human therapeutics, Invertebrates, Marine environment, Marine natural products, Pharmaceutical applications, Pharmaceutical drugs.