Structural Biochemistry/Medicinal Chemistry
What is Medicinal Chemistry
Medicinal chemistry is a field in which scientists use chemistry techniques to develop pharmaceuticals for use in medicine. In the beginning, medicinal chemists wanted to be able to extraction useful molecules from plants. Today, scientists want to create analogs of molecules found in plants and synthesize new products that promote high potency levels and good pharmokinetics. These new synthetic drugs are created through new organic chemistry mechanisms that involve molecular biology and biochemistry. Medicinal chemistry focuses on drug development and discovery.
History of Medicinal Chemistry
Medicinal chemistry is the application of chemical research techniques to the synthesis of pharmaceuticals. During the early stages of medicinal chemistry development, scientists were primarily concerned with the isolation of medicinal agents found in plants. Today, scientists in this field are also equally concerned with the creation of new synthetic drug compounds. Medicinal chemistry is almost always geared toward drug discovery and development.
Carrying Out Basic Research
Medicinal chemistry research is an important area of research that is performed in many university labs. As an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Alex Mackerell, Jr. has done research on cocaine and cocaine analogs to develop drugs for the treatment of cocaine addiction. His research, however, was not solely focused on just getting a product, but also on understanding basic chemical reactions and their properties. "We were interested in the physical properties and in the underlying mechanisms of cocaine," he says. The purpose of the research was to develop a cocaine antagonist that would cause ill effects when cocaine is ingested. This type of research characterizes the research being conducted in academic environments.
Drug discovery method