The Current issue of “The view from here” is concerned with Pharmacology.

The topic of this month’s newsletter from Drug Discovery Today is “Pharmacology”.

I would suppose that pharmacology is one of the lynchpins of the pharmaceutical industry, effectively, anything that is produced in order to treat disease must have demonstrable pharmacology. Sorry if I’m teaching my grandmother to suck eggs here. Although this would appear to be a truism, I think that people’s perceptions of what constitutes pharmacology have changed a great deal since Sir John Henry Gaddum FRS FRSE published his first treatise on the subject (and the mainstay of many a student) in 1948. Although the underlying principles remain largely unchanged, the nature of molecules used as pharmacological agents now and the study of their interactions would probably astound this doyen of the pharmacology world, having died in 1965. In this issue of Drug Discovery Today: Editor’s Choice, I have selected 3 articles, broadly related to the topic of pharmacology.   

The first article in this month’s offering from the start of the year is entitled:”Marine pharmacology: therapeutic targeting of matrix metalloproteinases in neuroinflammation”, by Eugenia Gentile and Grazia M. Liuzzi of Department of Biosciences, University of Bari, Italy. This article deals with the most recent findings in the search for anti-MMP molecules from marine invertebrates regarding their use in the management and treatment of neuroinflammation. The targeting of matrix metalloproteinases has been a very hot topic over the last few years and has formed the basis of strategies to treat connective tissue diseases such as the inflammatory arthritides. More recently, pioneered by the seminal work of Nancy Rothwell, neuroinflammation has attracted a lot of attention as potential treatments for stroke as well as potentially conditions like Alzheimer’s. The lack of BBB permeability of standard anti-inflammatory agents has necessitated the search for alternative structures capable of crossing the blood brain barrier.

The second featured article is by Aravindhan Ganesan, Michelle L. Coote and Khaled University of Alberta, Canada and Australian National University, Canberra   and is entitled: “Molecular dynamics-driven drug discovery: leaping forward with confidence”. Although on the face of it, this article would not appear to sit terribly comfortably under the umbrella of “Pharmacology”, it does, however, demonstrate how modern technology and approaches such as molecular dynamics can be introduced into the drug discovery workflow. These techniques give unique insight into the fundamental interactions between ligand and receptor, which, in essence is the essence of all pharmacology.

Finally, is the article “Split protein biosensor assays in molecular pharmacological studies” from Michael C. Wehr and Moritz J. Rossner from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany and Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, Göttingham, Germany. This article introduces a versatile assay technique that is very useful for studying protein-protein interactions in living cells; something that would be difficult or impossible using other technologies. This and related approaches allow the investigation of real time, living cell assays; hence this may open up new avenues for drug discovery and development in the future.


Steve Carney was born in Liverpool, England and studied Biochemistry at Liverpool University, obtaining a BSc.(Hons) and then read for a PhD on the Biochemistry and Pathology of Connective Tissue Diseases in Manchester University, in the Departments of Medical Biochemistry and Histopathology. On completion of his PhD he moved to the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, London, where he worked with Professor Helen Muir FRS and Professor Tim Hardingham, on the biochemistry of experimental Osteoarthritis. He joined Eli Lilly and Co. and held a number of positions in Biology R&D, initially in the Connective Tissue Department, but latterly in the Neuroscience Department. He left Lilly to take up his present position as Managing Editor, Drug Discovery Today, at Elsevier. Currently, he also holds an honorary lectureship in Drug Discovery at the University of Surrey, UK. He has authored over 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals, written several book chapters and has held a number of patents.

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