Researcher Finds New Way Of Devising Medically Useful Linked Rings Of Atoms Replacing Toxic, Expensive, And Environmentally Unfriendly Old Process

December 05, 1997

University of Warwick Chemist Dr Andrew Clark has devised a method of creating medically useful linked rings of atoms that do not rely on the toxic, expensive, environmentally unfriendly methods used until now.

A large number of biologically and or medicinally active chemicals (e.g drugs and naturally occurring biological molecules) contain rings of atoms linked together. If we wish to treat diseases by the discovery of new drugs or design new "smart" materials it is of vital importance that chemists can construct these rings of atoms efficiently. One approach to making rings is that of stitching two ends of a chain of atoms together via a reactive molecule called a "free radical". Virtually all free radical reactions use other chemicals to "initiate" the construction process. Most procedures use one initiator in particular, called "tributyl tin hydride", however it has the following disadvantages: Andrew Clark and his fellow researchers have developed an alternative chemical based upon copper to control and initiate the stitching process. The new mediator is very cheap (900 times less expensive). It is just as efficient as the old initiator, even when the team use ten times less. The new chemical is also a catalyst which means that it is not destroyed in the stitching process. The catalyst can be easily recovered from the reaction and it can be re-used again in other reactions. Consequently, as a bonus there are no toxic residues to dispose of. The team will use their new catalyst to make rings important to the drug discovery process.

A presentation on this work at a special event held at the House of Commons last week earned Dr Clark the Society of Chemical Industry UK Prize. The award ceremony was organised by the Chemistry Research for Britain organisation which is supported by the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, learned societies, professional associations and institutions active in chemical science, and also by the UK's science research councils. Two dozen MPs were in attendance at the event.

University of Warwick

Related Atoms Articles from Brightsurf:

How to gently caress atoms
It is extremely difficult to study oxygen molecules on the metal oxide surface without altering them.

'Hot and messy' entanglement of 15 trillion atoms
In a study published in Nature Communications, ICFO, HDU and UPV researchers report the production of a giant entangled state that may help medical researchers detect extremely faint magnetic signals from the brain.

Exciting apparatus helps atoms see the light
Researchers in the Light-Matter Interactions for Quantum Technologies Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) have generated Rydberg atoms - unusually large excited atoms - near nanometer-thin optical fibers.

Manipulating atoms to make better superconductors
A new study by University of Illinois at Chicago researchers published in the journal Nature Communications shows that it is possible to manipulate individual atoms so that they begin working in a collective pattern that has the potential to become superconducting at higher temperatures.

Grabbing atoms
In a first for quantum physics, University of Otago researchers have 'held' individual atoms in place and observed previously unseen complex atomic interactions.

Chemists allow boron atoms to migrate
Organic molecules with atoms of the semi-metal boron are important building blocks for synthesis products to produce drugs and agricultural chemicals.

2D materials: arrangement of atoms measured in silicene
Silicene consists of a single layer of silicon atoms. In contrast to the ultra-flat material graphene, which is made of carbon, silicene shows surface irregularities that influence its electronic properties.

Atoms don't like jumping rope
Nanooptical traps are a promising building block for quantum technologies.

2000 atoms in two places at once
The quantum superposition principle has been tested on a scale as never before in a new study by scientists at the University of Vienna.

Single atoms as catalysts
Only the outermost layer of a catalyst can play a role in chemical reactions.

Read More: Atoms News and Atoms Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to