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Betulin and its derivatives – precursors of new drugs

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White birch bark extract, used in traditional medicine, has many medical properties. Its main components are betulin and betulinic acid - lupane type pentacyclic triterpenes. The discovery of the anti-tumor and anti-viral properties of betulinic acid has become an impulse to modify the structures of these compounds in order to obtain better activity. Over twenty years of research, several derivatives have been selected that have significantly better anti-tumor or antiviral properties than their precursors. This paper presents all new derivatives of betulin and betulinic acid, which have been tested in phase I, II or III of clinical trials. Clinical experiments on animals with natural cancers have also been described. The results obtained by various research teams give hope for the potential use of these compounds in therapy. At the same time, the presented analysis shows that the implementation of the new drug on the market is a process that lasts 10-15 years, which, despite the involvement of huge financial and human resources, does not guarantee success.
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  • Division of Histology and Embryology, Department of Human Morphology and Embryology, Faculty of Medicine, Wroclaw Medical University, 6a Chalubinskiego Str., 50-368 Wroclaw, Poland
  • Division of Histology and Embryology, Department of Human Morphology and Embryology, Faculty of Medicine, Wroclaw Medical University, 6a Chalubinskiego Str., 50-368 Wroclaw, Poland
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