New drug development article // Drug Repurposing

New drug development article

Antiviral drug discovery and developmentJoseph Vacca, Ph.D. Executive Director, Medicinal Chemistry West Point, Merck, Pennsylvania, USA

In the mid-1990s, a new class of antiviral drugs known as HIV protease inhibitors revolutionized the treatment of HIV infection. Being involved in this transformation has been the best career experience for Joseph Vacca, Executive Director of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at Merck, who was the project leader and one of the co-inventors of the first-generation HIV protease inhibitor indinavir. "It was thrilling to see how HIV went from being a death sentence to being a chronic, manageable disease for many people, " recalls Vacca. "Many better treatments now exist, but I feel that indinavir helped to show people what a potent drug could do, and also taught people how to make better ones."

Vacca's scientific career began with Peter Lansbury Sr at The State University of New York at Buffalo, USA. "I chose organic chemistry because I enjoyed the challenge of lab work and the gratification of planning a synthetic sequence that resulted in a product, " he says. When he was searching for a position during the last year of his graduate studies, he sent his résumé to an old lab colleague who was working at Merck, and was offered a position at the West Point site. "Medicinal chemistry appealed to me because of my interest in biology and the chance of being able to discover a drug. At Merck I could continue to do high level synthetic chemistry and was encouraged to publish in the scientific literature, " he explains.

For 12 years, he worked in the laboratory as a synthetic chemist on projects ranging from 2 adrenoceptor antagonists for depression, the synthesis of myo-inositol polyphosphates to study cell signalling pathways and finally to HIV protease inhibitors before moving to a managerial role. "My attraction to managing a group was to be involved with several drug discovery projects and to be able to interact with many high level scientists within our department and across the organization, " says Vacca. Now, he oversees many of the Department's drug discovery projects and acts as mentor and consultant to the chemistry heads who report to him. It is this interaction with talented colleagues that he most enjoys. "It is a pleasure to come in every day and see what kinds of new discoveries have been made, " Vacca says.

Of course, given the high attrition rates in drug discovery and the 26 years he has been at Merck, Vacca is familiar with the ongoing challenges in the field. "I have personally failed at every point in the path to a drug and it is usually from something unexpected." Still, successfully tackling these challenges is very rewarding. "I am excited to see clinical data from our compounds and to see what effect they have on the lives of patients, " says Vacca. "I was lucky enough to be the chemistry director when we started our recent integrase project [which has now resulted in the approval of the first HIV integrase inhibitor, raltegravir] and can see once again how a compound with a new mechanism of action affects the lives of people."

David M. Burger, Pharm.D., Ph.D. Associate Professor, Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Nijmegen University Centre for Infectious diseases (NUCI), Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, The Netherlands

You might also like

iPhone App Development Company India FuGenX - Alerts R us
iPhone App Development Company India FuGenX - Alerts R us ...
Savvycom - The leading mobile development company
Savvycom - The leading mobile development company

Oops...forgot the article

by Ignignokt

Mounting evidence of the drug war's casualties is meanwhile starting to emerge, to the embarrassment of both donors and the Laos authorities. More than 65,000 Akha, Hmong and other Laotian hill-dwelling tribespeople, for whom opium production is the main livelihood, have been cajoled and coerced to abandon the crop. Now they are dying from disease and malnutrition in the resettlement villages to which many have moved.
Charles Alton, a consultant for the UN Development Programme, reported in 2004 that hill-tribe people moving to new villages were not only short of rice but also faced diseases—malaria, gastro-intestinal problems and parasites—that were seldom experienced up in the mountains

Prescribing placebos? When good news is bad?

by Phrankly

"hough a few doctors are starting to argue for a more conscious use of the placebo effect, even for the deliberate prescribing of dummy pills, this is not an easy case to make. "
"The pharmaceutical company Merck announced that it was halting development of MK-869, a new antidepressant it had been promoting for months as a blockbuster drug on the scale of Prozac. Alas, the dummy pills worked just as well."
"Of course, patients are often far from pleased to hear how well their placebos have worked. "Once we did a ... study where we treated people for a month with placebo and then told people who'd responded what they'd been on," says Dr

New potent AIDS strain found

by -----

A new strain of the AIDS virus that swiftly causes disease and resists virtually all anti-HIV drugs has been detected in New York City, causing health officials there to issue a nationwide alert through the federal Centers for Disease Control.
AIDS clinics and health departments throughout California already have been notified of the single case, but no evidence of the new virus strain has been reported anywhere other than New York, specialists monitoring the disease said.
In San Francisco, Dr. John Greenspan, director of the AIDS Research Institute at UCSF, said Friday that all community physicians and city clinics treating HIV or AIDS patients have been informed of the New York case

This is a good article on fish in pg. :

by luvelymum

Study: Eating fish in pregnancy boosts baby's brainpower
THURSDAY, Feb. 15 (HealthDay News) — Children whose mothers ate at least three servings of fish a week during pregnancy had higher scores in tests of mental function in their early years.
That's the conclusion of a new British-American study that conflicts with advice on fish consumption for pregnant women given by U.S. government agencies.
"For the baby's development, at the level of 12 ounces a week during pregnancy, the beneficial effects of the nutrients in fish far outweigh the risk," said Dr. Joseph Hibbeln

Drug resistant super bacteria found in 3 states

by fwiw

BOSTON – An infectious-disease nightmare is unfolding: Bacteria that have been made resistant to nearly all antibiotics by an alarming new gene have sickened people in three states and are popping up all over the world, health officials reported Monday.
The U.S. cases and two others in Canada all involve people who had recently received medical care in India, where the problem is widespread. A British medical journal revealed the risk last month in an article describing dozens of cases in Britain in people who had gone to India for medical procedures.

Elsevier Polyamine transport in parasites: A potential target for new antiparasitic drug development [An article from: Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part C]
Book (Elsevier)

Inform Genomics and Translational Drug Development (TD2) Announce ..  — MarketWatch
.. LLC (TD2) based in Scottsdale, Arizona, today announced a strategic collaboration leveraging Inform Genomics' proprietary technology platform and analytic capabilities to biopharmaceutical companies through TD2's oncology drug development services.

Medical innovation prize fund: new idea in drug development.: An article from: AIDS Treatment News
Book (John S. James)
Elsevier Technological foresight-the use of biotechnology in the development of new drugs against breast cancer [An article from: Technovation]
Book (Elsevier)
Africa's first narco-state: it's hard to believe, but Guinea-Bissau was once hailed as a potential model for African development.(The Big Story: ILLEGAL DRUGS): An article from: New Internationalist
Book (New Internationalist Magazine)
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND Current Developments in Monetary and Financial Law, Vol. 5