Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Improving Drug Design: Chemist Learn To Make Left Or Right Versions Of Synthetic Drug Molecules

Date:
June 9, 2008
Source:
Duke University
Summary:
A chemist has apparently solved a long-standing frustration in creating certain synthetic molecules that make up drugs, which could lead to better drugs with fewer side effects. Like human hands, many molecules that make up drugs come in two shapes, right and left. But usually only one of the two versions has the desired effect; the other is at best useless and sometimes even harmful. For example, side effects from the morning sickness drug Thalidomide resulted in profound birth defects because one shape of the molecule was therapeutic and the other was dangerous.

A Duke University chemist has apparently solved a long-standing frustration in creating certain synthetic molecules that make up drugs, which could lead to better drugs with fewer side effects.

Related Articles


Like human hands, many molecules that make up drugs come in two shapes, right and left. But usually only one of the two versions has the desired effect; the other is at best useless and sometimes even harmful. For example, side effects from the morning sickness drug Thalidomide resulted in profound birth defects because one shape of the molecule was therapeutic and the other was dangerous.

Don Coltart, an assistant professor of chemistry at Duke, appears to have found a way to make synthetic ketone molecules in just one version or the other using a process that is faster, cheaper and less wasteful than the best techniques now available.

And unlike previous attempts to make just one shape of these molecules, a process called asymmetric synthesis, the new method should be able to scaling up to industrial manufacturing quantities.

"Asymmetric synthesis of ketones is not new, but we can do it more practically and easily," said Coltart, who developed the new technique with graduate student Daniel Lim."

Though well-known to the pharmaceutical industry, this problem of molecular handedness in ketones has been difficult to solve. Academic labs have succeeded at asymmetric synthesis over the last two decades, but only by using extreme conditions (e.g. temperatures of -100 degrees Celsius), and costly and time-consuming steps.

Conducted at zero C to -40 C, the new process uses a small molecule called a "chiral auxiliary" to attach pieces to a molecule being built, which causes the new pieces to have the correct handedness. The process is up to 98 percent accurate, Coltart said, and the auxiliary molecules can be easily released and recycled after they've done their work.

"He did something very different," said Samuel Danishefsky of Columbia University and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, who is Coltart's former post-doctoral mentor. "You could have had a hundred people look at this problem and not see it the way he did. It's a very nice idea."

Coltart said there is a huge need for drug companies to be more selective to make better drugs with fewer side effects, which this new process might help achieve. Pharmaceutical companies might also use the new technique to turn existing formulations of drugs sold as mixtures into a pure form having only the active form of the drug, giving them another seven years of patent protection.

Coltart and Duke recently applied for a patent on the process.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Daniel Lim, Don M. Coltart. Simple and Efficient Asymmetric -Alkylation and ,-Bisalkylation of Acyclic Ketones by Using Chiral N-Amino Cyclic Carbamate Hydrazones. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Online 4 Jun 2008 DOI: 10.1002/anie.200800848

Cite This Page:

Duke University. "Improving Drug Design: Chemist Learn To Make Left Or Right Versions Of Synthetic Drug Molecules." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080605124336.htm>.
Duke University. (2008, June 9). Improving Drug Design: Chemist Learn To Make Left Or Right Versions Of Synthetic Drug Molecules. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080605124336.htm
Duke University. "Improving Drug Design: Chemist Learn To Make Left Or Right Versions Of Synthetic Drug Molecules." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080605124336.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins