On August 24th this year a new method for medicine development, called ‘activity-directed synthesis’ was published in Nature Chemistry. The authors George Karageorgis and colleagues conducted the study at the University of Leeds. The approach is seen as revolutionary. According to the scientists, because of its simplicity, pharmaceutical companies could use the method starting tomorrow.
The established method of medicine development uses modification of known successful working chemical compounds to discover potential new active compounds. However, the new method works with a larger group of substances with often unknown reaction products. As a result, the possibilities are larger. The fast way of working in the new method makes testing with such amounts of substances possible.
In the study described in the publication a large group of substances is used, called α-diazo amides. It is know that these substances can lead to many different reaction products, depending on the circumstances in which the reaction takes place. By testing with different concentrations and types of ‘reaction-ingredients’, different products are synthesized. To test the potential of the reaction products as active drugs, in this study, the reactivity with an androgen receptor was tested.
The authors compared the method with making a new dish. When experimenting with existing and known products, the resulting dish will never be innovative. Working with new ingredients on the other hand, could possibly lead to an exciting new recipe.
New, more effective methods for medicine development are very relevant. The current way of medicine development is very expensive, pushing up the price of medication and being harmful for healthcare. Also, this method could lead to the development of medicines which were not held as possible until now. This includes medication for rare diseases, cancers, dementia, and infectious diseases.
Source: Nature Chemistry.