You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

New way to develop medicines free of side effects

Topics
Health Medical Pharma

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

A new technique for precisely targeting molecules within cells may pave the way for medicines that are free of side effects, scientists say.

Researchers from the University of Virginia in the US have developed a way to manipulate molecules from compartment to compartment within individual cells.

The same molecules do different things depending on their location, the researchers determined. By manipulating the molecules, scientists can determine exactly which locations to target, while avoiding locations that would cause harmful side effects.

"The problem with side effects is caused because you just could not distinguish the molecules doing different things in the same cell," said J Julius Zhu, from University of Virginia.

"If you blocked a molecule, you blocked it regardless of what it was doing. And that usually has unwanted side effects. Almost every drug that can treat disease has side effects, either major or minor, but usually they always have something," said Zhu.

Until now, drugs have targeted molecules in a very general way. If a molecule was thought to be harmful, researchers might try to develop a drug to block it entirely.

However, Zhu's work highlights the downside of that shotgun approach. A molecule might be causing problems because of what it is doing in one part of the cell, but, at the same time, that same molecule is doing something entirely different in other parts - perhaps something tremendously important.

Shutting it down entirely would be like trying to solve the problem of traffic congestion by banning cars.

Rather than crudely trying to block a molecule regardless of its many functions, doctors can target a specific molecule doing a specific thing in a specific location.

That adds a new level of precision to the concept of precision medicine - medicine tailored exactly to a patient's needs.

The technique will be useful for many different diseases, but especially for cancers and neurological conditions such as autism and Alzheimer's.

The technique will also speed up the development of new treatments by letting researchers more quickly understand what molecules are doing and which should be targeted.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Sun, July 08 2018. 16:50 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU