Over the recent years, humans have witnessed and endured one of the worst pandemics in history, affecting not only public health but also others we may have not yet realized Emerging and re-emerging diseases, deemed untreatable, have also threatened our very existence. The need for novel efficacious drugs cannot be overemphasized as they can definitely help control and lower mortality.
Chemistry section at CRI has recognized the vital role of natural products, in their original forms or as templates for further modifications, in the upstream process of drug discovery and development.
Nature has been the most industrious and imaginative creator of small molecules with unique scaffolds many of which are clinically useful as therapeutic agents. Thus, our integrative efforts among the three laboratories have centralized on natural products chemistry which encompasses systematic chemotaxonomic approach for discovering novel isolable naturally-occurring compounds. Their biological activities are of surmount importance as a guide for further semi-synthetic modifications to generate more desirable analogs.
Some structurally unique natural products have also driven the development of new and creative synthetic methods to access various moieties where only a few or none of the efficient synthetic methods have existed. Low natural abundance of some bioactive natural products has necessitated our laboratories to devise their total synthesis not only for academic excellence but also, more importantly, for providing such compounds in sufficient quantities for further biological evaluations including those at the molecular level to gain better understanding of the interactions between the biomolecular targets and the small molecule drugs. To this end, modern computational chemistry has become an indispensable tool which enables visualization and modeling of such interactions. In addition, when employed in conjunction with appropriate spectroscopic data and statistical analysis, advanced software in computational chemistry can facilitate the identification of exact structures of natural/synthetic compounds.
In combination with biopolymer, some natural products have found their applications as innovative medical devices such as double-layered wound dressing containing Thai herbal extracts and injectable hydrogel of eggshell-derived hydroxyapatite-incorporated fibroin-alginate for bone tissue engineering. These applications have bridged the basic science knowledge in chemistry and potential local industries.
Chemistry section has also realized the importance of research utilization with an aim to facilitate the translation of basic research to solutions of the real-world issues in a timely manner, especially for the health crises we have faced. With the race against time for the survival of mankind, research in drug discovery and development in the Chemistry section at CRI will continue to pave the way to better the quality of life of Thai people.