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Future

In Their Quest For Cures, Medical Researchers Take Cues From Mother Nature

Scientists are looking at nature’s myriad molecules -- studying substances like tree bark and fungi -- in hopes of coming up with cures for cancer and other maladies.

Yew tree bark contains an anti-tumor agent
Yew tree bark contains an anti-tumor agent
Cédric Duval

Always a source of scientific inspiration, Mother Nature is now playing a key role in combinatorial chemistry, explained researchers involved in last week's "Chemistry and Health: from molecules to medicines' conference, hosted by France's Université Paris-Sud. An important line of study in the pharmaceutical industry, combinatorial chemistry involves rapid synthesis or the computer simulation of a large number of different but structurally related molecules or materials.

Two decades ago, combinatorial chemistry caught the imagination of researchers. "Back then, we thought that we could rapidly create a library of several thousand molecules, but that idea was too simplistic so it did not work," says Fanny Roussin of France's National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). "What we must do is combine several approaches including the study of natural substances, which has already proved its worth."

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Geopolitics

As Iran Protests Spread, Regime Is Busy Clinging To Power

Facing resurgent protests in several provinces, Iran's clerical regime now relies on two defenses: brute force and Western appeasement. But its days may be numbered as younger Iranians are increasingly emboldened to demand a different future.

A man repairs a carpet in Tehran, Iran

Elahe Boghrat

-Editorial-

Governing ordinarily consists of assuring the security and welfare of a population or nation, within a state or territory. Take away one element from that equation and the government in question begins to move toward failure, defeat, and perhaps its downfall.

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