Today, a new study published in Science by Professors Yossi Paltiel of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Ron Naaman from the Weizmann Institute of Science describes a breakthrough technology with the power to create drugs with fewer unwanted side effects.
Chemical compounds are made up of molecules. The most important molecules in biology are chiral molecules. “Chiral,” the Greek word for “hand,” describes molecules that look almost exactly alike and contain the same number of atoms but are mirror images of one another–meaning some are “left-handed” and others are “right-handed”. This different “handedness” is crucial and yields different biological effects.
Understanding chiral differences was made painfully clear by the drug thalidomide. Marketed to pregnant women in the 1950’s and 1960’s to ease morning sickness, thalidomide worked well under a microscope. However, thalidomide is a chiral drug -its “right” chiral molecule provides nausea relief while the “left” molecule causes horrible deformities in babies. Since the drug company producing Thalidomide did not separate out the right and left molecules, Thalidomide had disastrous results for the children of women who took this medication.
Though a crucial step for drug safety, the separation of chiral molecules into their right- and left- handed components is an expensive process and demands a tailor-made approach for each type of molecule. Now, however, following a decade of collaborative research, Paltiel and Naaman have discovered a uniform, generic method that will enable pharmaceutical and chemical manufactures to easily and cheaply separate right from left chiral molecules.
Their method relies on magnets. Chiral molecules interact with a magnetic substrate and line up according to the direction of their handedness –“left” molecules interact better with one pole of the magnet, and “right” molecules with the other one. This technology will allow chemical manufacturers to keep the “good” molecules and to discard the “bad” ones that cause harmful or unwanted side effects.
“Our finding has great practical importance”, shared Prof. Naaman. “It will usher in an era of better, safer drugs, and more environmentally-friendly pesticides”.
While popular drugs, such as Ritalin and Cipramil, are sold in their chirally-pure (i.e., separated) forms, many generic medications are not. Currently only 13% of chiral drugs are separated even though the FDA recommends that all chiral drugs be separated. Further, in the field of agrochemicals, chirally-pure pesticides and fertilizers require smaller doses and cause less environmental contamination than their unseparated counterparts.
With these statistics in mind, Paltiel and Naaman’s simple and cost effective chiral separation technique has the ability to produce better medical and agricultural products, including medicines, food ingredients, dietary supplements and pesticides.
The Latest on: Chiral molecules
via Google News
The Latest on: Chiral molecules
- How organocatalysis won the Nobel prizeon October 15, 2021 at 2:29 am
Jamie Durrani tells the story of how two young upstarts, Ben List and David MacMillan, created a whole new field of catalysis ...
- RUDN: Chemist Benjamin List: the Nobel Prize in chemistry and a visit to RUDN Universityon October 10, 2021 at 9:43 pm
The Nobel Committee awarded Benjamin List and David McMillan the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of asymmetric organic catalysis. In 2000, the two chemists independently created a new ...
- Who won the 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry?on October 8, 2021 at 9:41 am
Benjamin List and David MacMillan have been awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis.
- Chemistry Nobel Prize for Benjamin Liston October 8, 2021 at 5:39 am
Many molecules, especially those that are involved in biological processes, exist in the form of two enantiomers that are as similar as the left and right hand - that is why such substances are called ...
- Nobel Prize 2021: What Is Asymmetric Organocatalysis? Chemistry Nobel-Winning Feat EXPLAINEDon October 7, 2021 at 10:25 am
The Nobel Prize 2021 in Chemistry has been jointly awarded to Benjamin List and David W.C. MacMillan ‘for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis’ ...
- Atropisomeric N-aryl quinazoline-4-thiones with isotopic differences at the ortho positionon October 7, 2021 at 9:15 am
Organic compounds “labeled” or tagged with deuterium can also act as excellent solvents for analytical techniques like nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Deuterated chiral organic ...
- Nobel Prize in chemistry given to duo whose method solves 'mirror-image problem' in chemistryon October 6, 2021 at 9:49 am
These mirror-image, or chiral, molecules can have vastly different properties and interactions with the body. For instance, the mirror-image molecule of levomethamphetamine — which is used in ...
- ‘Elegant’ catalysts that tell left from right scoop chemistry Nobelon October 6, 2021 at 8:32 am
Until their breakthroughs, the common wisdom among chemists was that a catalyst that synthesizes chiral molecules (those of a particular handedness) had to either be an enzyme or contain a ...
- Explainer: why has asymmetric organocatalysis won the chemistry Nobel prize?on October 6, 2021 at 8:24 am
In a rather unexpected move by the Nobel committee, this year's prize in chemistry has been awarded to Benjamin List and David MacMillan ...
via Bing News