Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Nobel prize commitee recognize significance of Structure-based drug design

Structural biology has evolved considerably after the first breakthrough in understanding the molecular structure of DNA in 1950's. Nobel prize was awarded to them (Physiology/Medicine, 1962) for such an incredible discovery. This year's (2009) Nobel prize for chemistry goes to Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas A. Steitz and Ada E. Yonath for their work on structural understanding of ribosomal machinery using X-ray crystallography. Nobel committee believe that this discovery is significant for the structure-based drug design of new antibiotics, especially since the emergence of bacterial resistance.
My thought here is "Will structure-based computational drug design methods bring some breakthrough discoveries in the next 20 years?"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Scientific investigation of Indian ancestry: South Indians and North Indians?

Indian ancestry revealed : Nature News

Apparently, Indian population is an excellent study medium for genetic analysis considering the huge endogamous subdivisions of population.

"The researchers showed that most Indian populations are genetic admixtures of two ancient, genetically divergent groups, which each contributed around 40-60% of the DNA to most present-day populations"

"...whereas European ancestry is mostly carved up by geography, Indian segregation was driven largely by caste. "There are populations that have lived in the same town and same village for thousands of years without exchanging genes," says Reich..."

More studies like this might reveal interesting and useful patterns of genetic diseases/resistances, helping us to understand the human genome from clinical perspective.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Influence of protein shape and conformation on Drug Binding; Lock and key, Induced fit and beyond?

Intrinsic Changes In Protein Shape Influence Drug Binding

"According to the classical view, known as "induced fit," drug binding causes a change in the target protein structure......But it now appears that a protein has many different conformations that are already available even without the presence of a binding molecule, which is called the ligand. The ligand attaches to the protein shape that allows it to fit well, and that close interaction can lead to effective inhibition of protein function...."

Well, the thought process was on the horizon for sometime...

PNAS Article

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Why the Pfizer layoff? narrowing its research focus? Cardiovascular research abandoned.

"The move comes after the company announced in September it was narrowing its research focus to six disease areas  Alzheimer's, cancer, schizophrenia, pain, inflammation and diabetes"...

"Surprisingly, one of the areas abandoned was cardiovascular disease, where Pfizer had been a dominant player with its $13 billion-a-year cholesterol fighter Lipitor, the world's top-selling drug..."
Drugmaker Pfizer cutting up to 800 scientist jobs -

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

More drug approvals from FDA is a welcome sign

More approvals are welcome. Industry accuses FDA for not being efficient. At the same time, one should not forget about incidents like Vioxx tragedy

FDA Approves More Drugs, Still Misses Deadlines