Open Access Medical Books



Edited by Marianna Kulka .

424 pages .
Open Access .
ISBN 978-953-51-1158-0 .

Modern medicine has been, and will continue to be, extremely dependent upon the discovery of new drugs. As our modern civilization continues to develop, we will be challenged with new and more difficult-to-treat diseases. In large part, these diseases will be the consequence of our rapidly changing lifestyles to which we have not had time to evolve appropriate biological coping mechanisms – obesity and our sedentary lifestyle being just one obvious example. The rise in obesity-related disease, allergic inflammation and certain types of cancers has challenged us to create a new arsenal of drugs that are capable of treating or even preventing these complex diseases. If our search for new medicines is to be successful, we must consider naturally-sourced bioactives as a good starting point. After all, many of our modern drugs are derivatives of natural products and this historical pharmacopeia probably contains a great deal more compounds that have beneficial biologic activity.
The word “drug” is not always associated with herbs and naturally-derived medicine. In fact, herbal and naturopathic remedies have been dissociated from one another in our modern medical lexicon. In essence, however, herbal and folk medicines were the first drugs in the truest sense of the term. The word “drug” is etymologically derived from the Middle Dutch or German word droog or droge meaning “dry barrels” or droge waere, meaning “dry wares” but specifically drugs and spices. The word drogue was later used in Old French in the 14th century meaning “supply, stock or provision” again probably referring to the supply of dried herbs and plants used for medicinal purposes. The word drug was associated with poisons in the 16th century and was later applied to narcotics and opiates in the late 19th century.
Today, the word drug can be generally defined as any chemical or biological agent that affects biologic processes. Drugs can have medicinal, enhancing or intoxicating effects on any living organism, including humans. Drugs can be chemical compounds used in the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of disease but drugs can also be biological products (such as blood products or hormones) used to enhance an athlete’s performance in a sport, for example.
Drugs are defined according to their specific ability to affect or modify an abnormal biological condition such as disease or illness. However, medicine has always incorporated a variety of strategies to achieve health – not just drugs – and our modern understanding of healthy diets and enriched foods has given rise to a number of new terms that represent these various approaches to modern health. Therefore, it is useful to define some of these terms like “functional foods” and “nutraceuticals” in the context of what constitutes a drug.
“Natural Health Products” or NPH are defined in the US as .....
Nutritional foods consumed for healthy and normal biological functions are not considered drugs, but if the same foods are consumed, often in a more pure form, with the specific purpose of treating a pathological condition, they may be classified as a drug. Foods that have been infused with biological compounds that give them more healthful characteristics (vitamin-enriched water, for example) have been classified as “functional foods” because they function to either prevent disease or alleviate symptoms associated with a particular illness.
Still yet are nutraceuticals which refers to products that range from isolated nutrients, dietary supplements and herbal products and is a term that was first coined by Dr. Stephen L. DeFelice, founder and chairman of the Foundation of Innovation Medicine in Crawford, New Jersey. In the US, the term nutraceutical has no legal meaning and most “nutraceutical” products are regulated as drugs, dietary supplements, food ingredients or food. In Canada, the term is defined by Health Canada as “a product isolated or purified from foods that is generally sold in medicinal forms not usually associated with food. A nutraceutical is demonstrated to have a physiological benefit or provide protection against chronic disease."
The term nutriceutical is new, but the idea is not. Hippocrates, considered by many to be the father of modern medicine, wrote in his corpus wrote “let food by thy medicine” and health practitioners have promoted certain foods and drinks as fundamentally “healthy” for centuries. It is from these origins that drug discovery undoubtedly began.
The ancient Egyptians, Indians and Chinese all had extensive treatises of herbs or mixtures to alleviate and treat disease. The Ebers Papyrus, dating back to 1550 BC, for example, lists about 800 ancient Egyptian prescriptions for over 700 remedies. Most of the Egyptian drugs have been identified with drugs and active compounds that have been described in current formulations and recipes. The Indian Ayurveda, dating back to 900BC, has been used in India for thousands of years and describes the use of plants for ailments such as hypertension and mental disease. Greek and Latin medicine was heavily influenced by Egyptian medicine and reached a peak during Dioscorides in the first century AD. Claudius Galen was a physician and pharmacist and his approach to therapy often involved complex mixtures called “galenicals” from which he believed the body would select the appropriate medicinal ingredient that it needed.
With the fall of the Roman Empire, the use of medicinal plants came to be associated with witchcraft and sorcery and ancient science was, for the most part, neglected by western society.
However, some scholars preserved and transmitted some of this vast information and Islamic schools and monastic abbeys played an important part in this process. By the Renaissance, some of this ancient information was re-discovered and revised. Valerius Cordus was a German botanist who in 1542 wrote a botanic treatise in which he introduced “laudanum,” a formulation that contained opium extract and was used widely by European and North American doctors until the mid-19th century.
Modern drug discovery began with the breakthroughs in chemical and biological sciences in the 19th century wherein the isolation, chemical characterization and analytical determination of bioactive molecules could be done. It was at this point that the chemical identity of these bioactive compounds could finally be defined and this knowledge was used to create more effective, potent and targeted drugs that were also more stable and had fewer side-effects.
This new field of drug discovery is beautifully examined in the first chapter of this book. As drug discovery progressed, we made new leaps in our understanding of molecular structures and how they can be manipulated to make bioactive compounds much more potent or more specific. This allowed us to not only create “designer” drugs but gave us the opportunity to go back to the ancient pharmacopeia to find similar compounds.
As our population ages, our need for new and more dynamic medications will increase. The diverse set of professionals that are now involved in drug discover must all work together to achieve this goal.

Marianna Kulka
National Research Council Canada .


Section 1 Agronomy and Molecular Characterization .

 1 Discovery, Development, and Regulation of Natural Products 3 Juergen Krause and Gailene Tobin

 2 Genetic, Agronomy, and Metabolomics of Prince Edwards Island Wild Rose Collection and Promise for Cultivar Development 37 Bourlaye Fofana, Kaushik Ghose, Bob Chapman and Kevin

 3 Magnetic Resonance Technologies: Molecules to Medicine 63 Nadine Merkley, Ian Burton, Tobias Karakach and Raymond T. Syvitski

Section 2 Bioactive Proteins from Natural Sources .

 4 Marine Natural Products for Protein Misfolding Modulation 95 James C. Giffin and Kathryn Vanya Ewart

 5 Marine Flatfish-Derived Bioactive Peptides: From the Ocean to the Bedside 121 Susan Douglas

Section 3 Bioactive Ingredients in Nutrition .

 6 Anticancer Properties of Phytochemicals Present in Medicinal Plants of North America 159 Wasundara Fernando and H. P. Vasantha Rupasinghe

 7 A New Perspective on the Development of Cholesterol- Lowering Products 181 Sandhya V.G. Nair and Yanwen Wang

 8 A Glance at the Complexity of Nutrition and the Prostate: Considering Molecular Targets to Unravel the Most Recent Controversy Between Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Their Impact on Prostate Cancer Risk 215 Gailene Tobin, Robert Hurta and Marianna Kulka

Section 4 Bioactive Compounds in Health and Disease .

 9 Mechanisms and Treatment of Photoaging and Photodamage 255 Marianna Kulka

 10 Asthma in the 21st Century — Unexpected Applications of Ancient Treatments 277 Priyanka Pundir, Xiaofeng Wang and Marianna Kulka

 11 Plant Based Natural Products and Breast Cancer: Considering Multi-Faceted Disease Aspects, Past Successes, and Promising Future Interventions 345 Gailene Tobin, Ruwani Kalupahana and Marianna Kulka .

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Published by: Unknown - Friday, August 30, 2013


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