08 February 2013

Faster Process In Molecular Pharmacological Drug Design Discovered

Scientists at Yale University have discovered a faster and efficient way of designing and assembling drug compounds that can lead to more efficient drug discovery and medical treatment.

Molecular biology focuses on the molecular basis of biological activity; the physiological, chemical, and metabolic processes. It involves the knowledge of how biological molecules such as proteins, polysaccharides, lipids, and nucleic acids interact with each other and other biomolecules in the body.

Because molecular biology focuses on the understanding of cell biology and the bio-chemical interactions involved with it at the molecular level, the study is a prime factor in pharmacology. Through the molecular analysis and study of biomolecules and biochemical processes, pharmacologists are able to design chemicals that acts on a specific signal or metabolic process on a molecular level. The reaction or interaction is controlled, focused, and precise.

This leads to better drugs and medication that efficiently and safely addresses a condition with as little or no adverse effects on the individual.

There are factors involved in designing these chemical compounds that pharmacology focuses on:
  • Liberation - how the medication is dispersed or breaks down
  • Absorption - how is the medication absorbed
  • Distribution - how is the medication spread through the organism
  • Metabolism - what are the chemical interactions involved
  • Excretion - how is the medication eliminated

Controlling the design of a biological compound involves the study of the role, function, and structure of biomolecules. By understanding these, certain diseases and disorders can be addressed such as Alzheimer's Disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Faster Biomolecular Drug Production

A team of scientists anchored at Yale University has demonstrated a new, highly versatile approach for quickly assembling drug-like compounds, establishing a broad new route to drug discovery and medical treatment. They report their results in the journal Science on Feb 8.

Drug molecules interact with their targets, such as proteins or enzymes, by attaching to them in a way that neutralizes the target's undesirable effects in the body. This is sometimes called the "lock-and-key" method. The new approach offers scientists far greater control over the three-dimensional structure of a key class of molecular compounds, making it easier to fashion drug molecules that fit their targets in the right way.

"Now we've got a lot more control over the shape and orientation of this class of drug compounds, and this essentially gives us greater flexibility in creating effective drugs," said Jonathan Ellman, the Yale chemist who led the experiment.

Video: Molecular and Genetic Pharmacology

The research reported in Science revolves around piperidines, a class of organic compounds widely used in pharmaceuticals, including the familiar drugs quinine, morphine, oxycodone, Plavix, Cialis, and Aricept. Piperidines are core structures, or scaffolds, upon which molecular fragments — parts of the drug molecule — can be displayed for binding to a drug's targets. The scientists have shown a way to generate different piperidine derivatives by varying acid strength.

"Our research allows us to make new piperidines easily," Ellman said. "The approach has biomedical relevance because the scaffold upon which the fragments are displayed is present in many of the most important drugs."

The research is being published without patent constraints and could be used by drug developers immediately, said Ellman, who is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Chemistry and professor of pharmacology. "I believe that this is the most effective approach for rapidly translating this work into new drugs," he said.


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