Artemisinin: Nature’s gift to the arsenal against malaria and cancer

Qinghao, a herb medicine with over 2000 years of clinical application in the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) was the inspiration for the discovery of Artemisinin (a sesquiterpene lactone containing an unusual peroxide bridge) in 1970’s by Tu You You and the development of a drug, which saved millions of lives globally, halving the mortality rates of Malaria during the past 20 years.  Tu You You, for her discoveries concerning this novel therapy against resistant Malaria parasites, was honoured in 2015 with the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology.  During the last 30 years Artemisinin and a plethora of it’s derivatives have been synthesized and studied extensively for their antimalarial and anticancer properties. The story of Tu You You, the journey all the way from the discovery of Artemisinin to the Nobel prize, the current research highlights, as well as, our group’s research results on the synthesis and biological evaluation of artemisinin dimers will be discussed in this presentation.