Living in the pharmaceutical century

August 16, 2000

20th century advances in drug technology

The American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, has published The Pharmaceutical Century, a history of 20th century medical advances and the technology that made them possible.

The history is a product of the joint efforts of four ACS publications: Chemical & Engineering News, the Society's newsweekly; the magazines Modern Drug Discovery and Today's Chemist at Work; and the research journal Analytical Chemistry. It will be distributed to all 161,000 Society members with the August 14 issue of Chemical & Engineering News. It will also be distributed at the 220th ACS national meeting in Washington, D.C.; the Drug Discovery Technology 2000 meeting in Boston; and at other scientific gatherings.

"Drug discovery and pharmaceuticals are where chemistry is going these days," said James Ryan, editor of Modern Drug Discovery and Today's Chemist at Work. "Into the 21st century, the jobs are coming from the biotechnology and pharmaceutical world. People going into this field need to know its history."

The Pharmaceutical Century reports on the effects of technology, drugs and diseases through the decades. Aspirin, for example, changed people's quality of life when it was first marketed in 1899. Then came penicillin. Later, Watson and Crick found meaning in a double helix. Today, combinatorial chemistry uses computers to mine databases for information on interactions between people and chemicals.

The special section also sets the stage for the future - for example, new analytical tools to examine patients and personalized drugs that tiny devices deliver painlessly to their targets.

If the current rate of discovery is a guide, the future may hold cures for cancer, Alzheimer's disease and AIDS. The Pharmaceutical Century reminds us that even as scientists search for these cures, they build on the work of their predecessors.
-end-


American Chemical Society

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