Nav: Home

Study says drugs could be developed cheaper and faster

February 22, 2017

Chemists at the University of Waterloo, SCIEX and Pfizer have discovered a new way to help the pharmaceutical industry identify and test new drugs, which could revolutionize drug development, and substantially reduce the cost and time drugs need to reach their market.

The study, published in the journal ACS Central Science, outlines a technique called differential mobility spectrometry (DMS) which analyzes drug molecules based on their response to an electrical field and the condensation-evaporation cycles the drug experiences in that field via a process, known as microsolvation.

"We can use this technique to measure drug properties in seconds to minutes with only nanograms of sample," says Scott Hopkins, a professor of chemistry at the University of Waterloo and corresponding author on the paper. "It's cost saving and high throughput, so you can test hundreds, even thousands of drugs quickly, increasing the rate of drug discovery."

Currently drug candidates are put through a battery of tests to measure their chemical and physical properties, such as how easily the drug crosses cell membranes, to predict how it will behave in the human body. Drugs must perform within a specific range in order to move forward to clinical trials. Most drugs fail the initial stages resulting in lost time and money.

"It takes time to grow cells and run replicate experiments to measure permeability," said Hopkins. "These kinds of assays are an arduous process, and the people that conduct this work are artists as well as scientists."

In contrast, these essential physical and chemical properties can be extracted all at once with a single analysis using DMS. The technique is so sensitive it can differentiate between the same drug molecules with slightly different atomic structures - something traditional testing methods cannot do.

"With this technology, the initial stages of drug development testing can be completed in hours rather than days," says Hopkins. "It's not only several orders of magnitude faster, it gives us information we never had access to before that we can use for rational drug design."

Beyond improving the testing and design drugs go through, Hopkins is hopeful this technology will improve the success of candidate drugs being proposed in the first place by informing the design process.
-end-


University of Waterloo

Related Chemistry Articles:

The chemistry of olive oil (video)
Whether you have it with bread or use it to cook, olive oil is awesome.
With more light, chemistry speeds up
Light initiates many chemical reactions. Experiments at the Laser Centre of the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the University of Warsaw's Faculty of Physics have for the first time demonstrated that increasing the intensity of illumination some reactions can be significantly faster.
The chemistry of whiskey (video)
Derby Day means it's time to recognize the chemical process of distillation, which makes bourbon possible.
Restoration based on chemistry
Considered the pinnacle of mediaeval painting, the Ghent Altarpiece was painted around 1432 by Jan van Eyck and probably his brother Hubert.
The chemistry of redheads (video)
The thing that sets redheads apart from the crowd is pigmentation.
More Chemistry News and Chemistry Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...