Nature as a remarkable chemist: a personal story of the discovery and development of Taxol

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The development of a new anticancer drug with a novel structure and unique mechanism of action is an important event, especially when the drug plays a clear role in improving the outcome for cancer patients. No drug fits this description better than Taxol. However, during the early phases of its development, there was little interest in the drug, particularly in the medical community. The story of Taxol is long and fascinating, and includes many examples in which the drug could have been dropped, resulting in its antitumor activity never being available to patients. It was 21 years between the original landmark paper on the isolation and structural determination of Taxol and its approval in 1992 by the FDA for its use in the treatment of ovarian cancer.

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