Chemists Use Supercomputers to Craft New Drugs That Mimic Nature’s Defenses

Posted on February 2, 2011 by

Organisms from insects to humans create their own natural protein based antibiotics in order to ward off microbes. Now, chemists are using supercomputers to model new drugs that will work the same way in humans and may lead to new and better antibiotics. Chemist William DeGrado and his company PolyMedix has created such a drug which is now in human clinical trials.If the drug works, it will advance a new way of developing drugs which may speed the process which is presently slow and some think haphazard. The process traditionally used by the biotech industry develops new drugs basically by altering slightly the known natural proteins and seeing which tend to work better in the lab . Degrado and his partners spend their time  designing and creating proteins from scratch conceptually and running that design through a computer which models the chemical composition and cell structure of bacteria and other targets. The results so far have been extremely promising. Approved may  be years off but could create a new way of seeing therapeutics development.

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