Category Archives: Nature as source of drugs

The human mitochondrial DNA is of tremendous

The human mitochondrial DNA is of tremendous interest to geneticists, since it undoubtedly plays a role in mitochondrial disease. It also sheds light on human evolution; for example, analysis of variation in the human mitochondrial genome has led to the postulation of a recent common ancestor for all humans on the maternal line of descent. (see Mitochondrial Eve)

The process of drug

The process of drug development doesn’t stop once an NCE begins human clinical trials. In addition to the tests required to move a novel drug into the clinic for the first time it is also important to ensure that long-term or chronic toxicities are determined, as well as effects on systems not previously monitored (fertility, reproduction, immune system, etc.). The compound will also be tested for its capability to cause cancer (carcinogenicity testing).

Different countries have different

Different countries have different regulatory requirements and enforcement abilities. An estimated 40% of all clinical trials now take place in Asia, Eastern Europe, and Central and South America. «There is no compulsory registration system for clinical trials in these countries and many do not follow European directives in their operations», says Dr. Jacob Sijtsma of the Netherlands-based WEMOS, an advocacy health organisation tracking clinical trials in developing countries.

The distinctive flavors

The distinctive flavors of nearly all fruits, in the popular acceptance of the word, are desirable adjuncts to many food preparations, but only a few are practical sources of sufficiently concentrated flavor extract. The most important among those that lend themselves to «pure» extract manufacture include lemons, oranges, and vanilla beans.

Regulatory sequences have been

Regulatory sequences have been known since the late 1960s. The first identification of regulatory sequences in the human genome relied on recombinant DNA technology. Later with the advent of genomic sequencing, the identification of these sequences could be inferred by evolutionary conservation. The evolutionary branch between the primates and mouse, for example, occurred 70–90 million years ago. So computer comparisons of gene sequences that identify conserved non-coding sequences will be an indication of their importance in duties such as gene regulation.

The final synthetic

The final synthetic chemistry stages involve the production of a lead compound in suitable quantity and quality to allow large scale animal testing, and then human clinical trials. This involves the optimization of the synthetic route for bulk industrial production, and discovery of the most suitable drug formulation. The former of these is still the bailiwick of medicinal chemistry, the latter brings in the specialization of formulation science (with its components of physical and polymer chemistry and materials science). The synthetic chemistry specialization in medicinal chemistry aimed at adaptation and optimization of the synthetic route for industrial scale syntheses of 100’s of kilograms or more is termed process synthesis, and involves thorough knowledge of acceptable synthetic practice in the context of large scale reactions (reaction thermodynamics, economics, safety, etc.). Critical at this stage is the transition to more stringent GMP requirements for material sourcing, handling, and chemistry.

Informed consent is a legal

Informed consent is a legal process in which a recruit is instructed about key facts before deciding whether to participate. Researchers explain the details of the study in terms the subject can understand. The information is presented in the subject’s native language. Generally, children cannot autonomously provide informed consent, but depending on their age and other factors, may be required to provide informed assent.

Drug design, sometimes referred

Drug design, sometimes referred to as rational drug design or simply rational design, is the inventive process of finding new medications based on the knowledge of a biological target. The drug is most commonly an organic small molecule that activates or inhibits the function of a biomolecule such as a protein, which in turn results in a therapeutic benefit to the patient. In the most basic sense, drug design involves the design of small molecules that are complementary in shape and charge to the biomolecular target with which they interact and therefore will bind to it. Drug design frequently but not necessarily relies on computer modeling techniques. This type of modeling is often referred to as computer-aided drug design. Finally, drug design that relies on the knowledge of the three-dimensional structure of the biomolecular target is known as structure-based drug design.

Due to widespread international

Due to widespread international cooperation and advances in the field of genomics (especially in sequence analysis), as well as major advances in computing technology, a ’rough draft’ of the genome was finished in 2000 (announced jointly by U.S. President Bill Clinton and the British Prime Minister Tony Blair on June 26, 2000). This first available rough draft assembly of the genome was completed by the Genome Bioinformatics Group at the University of California, Santa Cruz, primarily led by then graduate student Jim Kent. Ongoing sequencing led to the announcement of the essentially complete genome on April 14, 2003, 2 years earlier than planned. In May 2006, another milestone was passed on the way to completion of the project, when the sequence of the last chromosome was published in the journal Nature.

The first personal genome sequence

The first personal genome sequence to be determined was that of Craig Venter in 2007. Personal genomes had not been sequenced in the public Human Genome Project to protect the identity of volunteers who provided DNA samples. That sequence was derived from the DNA of several volunteers from a diverse population. However, early in the Venter-led Celera Genomics genome sequencing effort the decision was made to switch from sequencing a composite sample to using DNA from a single individual, later revealed to have been Venter himself. Thus the Celera human genome sequence released in 2000 was largely that of one man. Subsequent replacement of the early composite-derived data and determination of the diploid sequence, representing both sets of chromosomes, rather than a haploid sequence originally reported, allowed the release of the first personal genome. In April 2008, that of James Watson was also completed. Since then hundreds of personal genome sequences have been released, including those of Desmond Tutu, and of a Paleo-Eskimo. In November 2013, a Spanish family made their personal genomics data obtained by direct-to-consumer genetic testing with 23andMe publicly available under a Creative Commons public domain license. This is believed to be the first such public genomics dataset for a whole family.