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.

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 September 24, 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 September 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 23, 2014) The WHO has warned up to 20,000 people could be infected with Ebola over the next few weeks. As Sonia Legg reports, the implications for the West African countries suffering from the disease are huge. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 Million Within 4 Months

Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 Million Within 4 Months

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) Health officials warn that without further intervention, the number of Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone could reach 1.4 million by January. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Cases to Triple in Weeks Without Drastic Action

WHO: Ebola Cases to Triple in Weeks Without Drastic Action

AFP (Sep. 23, 2014) The number of Ebola infections will triple to 20,000 by November, soaring by thousands every week if efforts to stop the outbreak are not stepped up radically, the WHO warned in a study on Tuesday. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
5 Ways Men Can Prevent Most Heart Attacks

5 Ways Men Can Prevent Most Heart Attacks

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) No surprise here: A recent study says men can reduce their risk of heart attack by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes daily exercise. 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