Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

1 million billion billion billion billion billion billion: Number of undiscovered drugs

Date:
June 6, 2012
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
A new voyage into "chemical space" – occupied not by stars and planets but substances that could become useful in everyday life – has concluded that scientists have synthesized barely one tenth of one percent of potential medicines. The report estimates that the actual number of these so-called "small molecules" could be one novemdecillion (that's one with 60 zeroes), more than some estimates of the number of stars in the universe.

A new voyage into "chemical space" -- occupied not by stars and planets but substances that could become useful in everyday life -- has concluded that scientists have synthesized barely one tenth of 1 percent of the potential medicines that could be made.
Credit: Nikolai Sorokin / Fotolia

A new voyage into "chemical space" -- occupied not by stars and planets but substances that could become useful in everyday life -- has concluded that scientists have synthesized barely one tenth of 1 percent of the potential medicines that could be made. The report, in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience, estimates that the actual number of these so-called "small molecules" could be 1 novemdecillion (that's 1 with 60 zeroes), 1 million billion billion billion billion billion billion, which is more than some estimates of the number of stars in the universe.

Jean-Louis Reymond and Mahendra Awale explain that small molecules, which are able to cross cell walls and interact with biological molecules in the body, are prime targets for scientists who develop new medicines. Most existing medications are small molecules. The authors focused on the "chemical space" inhabited by all of the small molecules that could possibly exist according to the laws of physics and chemistry. Researchers have identified millions of these compounds -- the ACS' Chemical Abstracts Service database contains almost 67 million substances. Reymond and Awale estimate that the molecules synthesized and tested as potential drugs so far represent less than 0.1 percent of chemical space. To aid researchers looking for new ways to prevent and treat disease, they set out to find the best ways to search for new small molecules.

The authors discuss several ways of getting a handle on chemical space, including by the size, shape and makeup of molecules. They show how computers can help researchers efficiently narrow a search for a new drug candidate. Computer modeling of chemical interactions can help researchers find a handful of promising molecules to synthesize and test in the lab. "Small molecule drugs are essential to the success of modern medicine," the authors note, and suggest that their methods may be particularly useful for finding new pharmaceuticals that target the central nervous system.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Jean-Louis Reymond, Mahendra Awale. Exploring Chemical Space for Drug Discovery Using the Chemical Universe Database. ACS Chemical Neuroscience, 2012; 120503134118006 DOI: 10.1021/cn3000422

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "1 million billion billion billion billion billion billion: Number of undiscovered drugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120606132316.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2012, June 6). 1 million billion billion billion billion billion billion: Number of undiscovered drugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120606132316.htm
American Chemical Society. "1 million billion billion billion billion billion billion: Number of undiscovered drugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120606132316.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

AP (July 18, 2014) The Obama administration approved the use of sonic cannons to discover deposits under the ocean floor by shooting sound waves 100 times louder than a jet engine through waters shared by endangered whales and turtles. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Newsy (July 18, 2014) The wreckage of the German submarine U-166 has become clearly visible for the first time since it was discovered in 2001. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Reuters - US Online Video (July 17, 2014) President Barak Obama stopped by at a lunch counter in Delaware before making remarks about boosting the nation's infrastructure. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

TheStreet (July 16, 2014) Oil Futures are bouncing back after tumbling below $100 a barrel for the first time since May yesterday. Jeff Grossman is the president of BRG Brokerage and trades at the NYMEX. Grossman tells TheStreet the Middle East is always a concern for oil traders. Oil prices were pushed down in recent weeks on Libya increasing its production. Supply disruptions in Iraq fading also contributed to prices falling. News from China's economic front showing a growth for the second quarter also calmed fears on its slowdown. Jeff Grossman talks to TheStreet's Susannah Lee on this and more on the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) report. Video provided by TheStreet
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:
from the past week

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