Natural products have been known as a valuable source for drug discovery for decades, with plant extracts being used for centuries as traditional medicine. Cucurbitacin is one of the natural active constituents that can be found in the members of the family Cucurbitaceae. Cucurbitacins have been validated to possess a multi-faceted effect by targeting different molecular targets, allowing for the treatment of different clinical problems by exhibiting hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative and anti-cancer activity. However, the broad spectrum of biological activity of cucurbitacins via targeting multiple molecular targets exemplifies their lack of specificity and selectivity. Therefore, it could be beneficial for structural modification of a steroidal scaffold to form a cucurbitacin-like skeleton.
SDSU researchers have adopted a molecular hybrid strategy and a series of novel compounds were developed.