The Current issue of “The view from here” is concerned with The Best of 2019

The topic of this month’s newsletter from Drug Discovery Today is “The Best of 2019”.

It is that time of year again where everyone is taking the time to address all those untied ends that need to be achieved before year end and planning for the coming year. This is obvious to me, in that I see a number of submissions coming across my desk as people clear their own. I’m not complaining, of course, but a more even stream of articles would be most welcome! But as we reflect upon what hopefully has been a successful and useful year for you all, it is an appropriated time to reflect back on some of the highlights of the last year or so. I suspect there would be no surprises in my selection, but please forgive my predictability as I present for you what I feel to be some of the most impactful science of 2019 as published by Drug Discovery Today.

The first article featured in this “best of” newsletter is by Bin Liu, Ali Saber and Hidde J. Haisma, entitled: “CRISPR/Cas9: a powerful tool for identification of new targets for cancer treatment”. I guess that it will come as no surprise that an article on CRISPR would be included in this newsletter. It has been a long time since a technique has attracted such a great deal of interest in the research community and, indeed, with the lay public. The potential of this technique is massive in general research and in medicine and the article featured highlights the ability of the approach to identify targets that may be influential in the development of new medicines to treat cancers. 
Following on from this, yet perhaps extending from the first article in this offering is: “Current outlook on drug resistance in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and potential therapeutic options.” By Daniel Nisakar Meenakshi Sundaram,  Xiaoyan Jiang,  Joseph M. Brandwein, Juliana Valencia-Serna, K.C.Remant and Hasan Uludag. Perhaps such science is not as obviously impactful, certainly not to the general public, but despite its lack of whistles and bells, studies such as this are key in developing appropriate therapies for some of the most devastating diseases known to man. The article concentrates upon how CML cells possess resistance mechanisms capable of making the most important drugs ineffective as treatments. In particular, tyrosine kinase inhibition has been a mainstay of the development of drugs for this and related diseases. Development of resistance in cells has somewhat hamstrung the use of these drugs and many attempts to develop new therapies have concentrated upon strategies capable of avoiding such resistance mechanisms. The article concludes by discussing the range of therapeutic options available to the physician to treat patients suffering from CML.
I hate to use the term “the last” as it somewhat deflects from the importance of something in a list, so perhaps it is more appropriate to say that  “the third” article in this month’s newsletter covers a very different field from the first two articles. It is: “A new generation of antidepressants: an update on the pharmaceutical pipeline for novel and rapid-acting therapeutics in mood disorders based on glutamate/GABA neurotransmitter systems” by Samuel T. Wilkinson and Gerard Sanacora. The interest in the development of novel antidepressants waned somewhat after the development in the late 80s and early 90s of many successful molecular entities, based upon the inhibition of presynaptic uptake of monoamine (predominantly serotonin) neurotransmitters. It became clear that hypotheses based upon monoamine deficiency alone could not explain the development of mood disorders such as depression. The lack of convincing alternative approaches and the availability of generic serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) led to a reduction in the attraction of such disorders for the development of new drugs. In the last 20 years, there has been convincing evidence that compounds capable of modulating amino acid neurotransmitter systems (particularly glutamate and GABA) may be of great value in addressing the treatment of mood disorders and some of the shortcomings of SSRI therapy. The article gives a very thorough overview of the experimental compounds in trials at present.
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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