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Ureas (also known as urea derivatives or carbamide derivatives) are organic compounds that have -NH-CO-NH- functional group. Urea derivatives are formed by the replacement of hydrogen by the suitable substituents in urea. The parent compound, urea (NH2-CO-NH2) is a waste product of many living organisms and plays a vital role in physiology, particularly metabolism.
In pharmaceutical research, urea derivatives have been extensively used as they show a broad range of biological activities. Heterocyclic urea derivatives are found to possess anti-cancer activity owing to their good inhibitory activity against receptor tyrosine kinases. Some aromatic urea derivatives such as benzoylurea derivatives and phenyl urea derivatives possess anticancer activity.
Urea and its derivatives are also widely used in the agriculture and chemical industries. In the chemical industry, urea is an important key material in many organic syntheses.