KARACHI - The chemical scientists on Friday at Karachi University stressed the need for carrying out new research work on medicinal plants and natural compounds as they have great potential to prevent people from diabetic complications. It was pointed out that around 100 million people world-wide are affected by the complications of the fatal disease, which is increasing all over the world. They were speaking on the third day of the four-day 11th International Symposium on Natural Product Chemistry (11th ISNPC), being held at the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), Karachi University (KU). Over 500 delegates including over 100 foreign scientists and researchers from 35 countries are participating in this symposium, which is considered as one of the most prestigious international events in the field of natural product sciences. More than 25 plenary and invited lectures on the issue have been delivered in three days of the international event. A scientist from Bangladesh, Dhaka, Dr. Begum Ruqiyya, pointed out that diabetes had become one of the most challenging health problems of 21st century and its rapidly increasing prevalence throughout the world demanded new therapeutic as well as preventive approaches to combat the disease. She said, "The number of people with diabetes is expected to rise from 150 million at present to 300 million by 2025. Traditional preparations from plant sources are widely used almost everywhere especially in the Third World countries. Therefore, plant materials are considered to be the alternative source for finding out a new lead for the treatment of diabetes", said Dr. Ruqiyya. Prof Dr. Nisar Ahmed of Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK, said  diabetics   increase their susceptibility to retinopathy cataract, atherosclerosis, neuropathy, nephropathy and impaired wound-healing. A Turkish scientist from Gazi University, Ankara, Turkey, Prof Dr. Bilge Sener, said the bio-resources have tremendous potential in having excellent chemical diversity to drug discovery programmes and in serving as templates for synthetic drugs. There are well-known examples of clinical drugs derived from natural sources, she added. She said, "Medicinal plants produce a diverse range of chemically novel bio-active molecules, making them rich sources of different types of medicines. There is still a great need for novel compounds with unique mechanisms of action to treat diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's, arthritis, diabetes."