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Finding natural product pharmaceuticals


Patent experts use STN to search for traditional medicine patent information. Research scientists and other technical professionals use SciFinder to conduct preliminary discovery as well as identify novel synthetic pathways. Several search approaches can be used within SciFinder to find natural product information in the CAS databases:


• Plant or organism name ∙ Common name (Pacific yew) ∙ Genus species name (Taxus brevifolia)


• Medical condition ∙ Specific name (Hepatitis C virus) ∙ Affected organ (liver disease)


• Therapeutic use ∙ Antitumor agents ∙ Immunostimulants


• Alternative spelling/spacing on author names ∙ Huang Qi ∙ Huangqi


With multiple pathways to information come more opportunities to uncover prior art. For example, searching the common name Pacific yew yields 193 references, while searching the tree’s genus species name Taxus brevifolia yields 459 references. Similarly, a search on the author name Huang Qi returns 139 references, whereas the alternative spelling Huangqi returns 193 references.


A SciFinder search on Ligusticum chuanxiong, one of the 50 fundamental herbs in traditional Chinese medicine, obtains more than 9,000 references. In-depth CAS indexing is revealed by displaying, for example, the full record for one of these references, traditional medicine patent CN 101982195, ‘Chinese medicine plaster for treating rheumatoid arthritis-associated pain and preparation method thereof ’.


SciFinder analysis and refinement tools use CAS indexing to focus search results to the specific area of interest. An in-depth breakdown of the indexing by organism name, medical terms or substances is available, as are molecular structures isolated from natural products. Saved answer sets can be combined to ensure maximum retrieval. Researchers can also view detailed substance records for complete names, formula, structure, properties and related information.


Tere is little doubt that patent literature will continue to report the remedial effects of ancient medicinal ingredients on modern ailments. To discover this prior art, intellectual property professionals in the life sciences sector can turn to the CAS databases. Traditional medicine patents from China and other countries are covered with detailed indexing of concepts and substances,


and this information can be efficiently retrieved and organised using STN and SciFinder. Once discovered, this patent information can lead to subsequent developments in isolating active ingredients from natural products and creating synthetic pathways to important pharmaceuticals.


John Zabilski is a senior product manager at


Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS). He can be contacted at: jzabilski@cas.org


John Zabilski is a senior STN product manager for Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), a division of the American Chemical Society. He has written and lectured on IP topics related to patinformatics, competitive intelligence, patent classification, patent search strategies and chemical indexing of patents. He has presented at national and international scientific meetings, including PIUG, ACS, SLA and IOLM. Zabilski is also a registered US patent agent.


Copyright © 2011. American Chemical Society (ACS). All Rights Reserved. www.worldipreview.com Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review 2011 45


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