A new method for developing safer drugs

May 10, 2010, University of Gothenburg

Amodiaquine was introduced as an antimalarial drug, but was withdrawn when serious adverse effects were observed. Scientists at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have now developed a method that can be used to develop safer drugs.

A pharmaceutical in the body is, in the optimal case, broken down into harmless products () that leave the body, for example via the urine. Some pharmaceuticals, however, can be converted into toxic products, which may result in serious adverse effects. A research collaboration between the University of Gothenburg and AstraZeneca has resulted in a method that can facilitate the process of developing safe drugs.

Scientist Tove Johansson Mali'n presents in her thesis a method in which various chemical systems are used to simulate the metabolism of pharmaceuticals in the body. She has been able to use the method to identify and characterise several potentially toxic products that arise as the metabolites of drugs.

One example is the drug amodiaquine. This was introduced as an , but was withdrawn from the market when it became clear that the drug caused serious adverse effects in the form of and impaired immune system. Amodiaquine today is mainly used in the acute phase of malaria, mainly in Africa, where resistance to other antimalarial drugs is widespread. Tove Johansson Mali'n has now managed to identify, with the aid of the method, previously unknown metabolites that may have caused, or contributed to, the adverse effects of amodiaquine.

Tove Johansson Mali'n describes the results in her doctoral thesis. The work has been performed in collaboration with the pharmaceuticals company and is already attracting international attention. Tove Johansson Mali'n has been invited to Salt Lake City, USA at the end of May in order to present her results at an international conference arranged by the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, with 7,000 participants.

"We hope that the method can simplify the work of identifying potentially toxic metabolites at an early stage, and thus facilitate the development of safe drugs", says Tove Johansson Mali'n.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Iron triggers dangerous infection in lung transplant patients, study finds

February 21, 2018
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have identified elevated tissue iron as a risk factor for life-threatening fungal infections in lung transplant recipients.

Neuroimaging reveals lasting brain deficits in iron-deficient piglets

February 21, 2018
Iron deficiency in the first four weeks of a piglet's life - equivalent to roughly four months in a human infant - impairs the development of key brain structures, scientists report. The abnormalities remain even after weeks ...

Products derived from plants offer potential as dual-targeting agents for experimental cerebral malaria

February 21, 2018
Malaria, a life-threatening disease usually caused when parasites from the Plasmodium family enter the bloodstream of a person bitten by a parasite-carrying mosquito, is a severe health threat globally, with 200 to 300 million ...

Scientists in Germany improve malaria drug production

February 21, 2018
Scientists in Germany who developed a new way to make a key malaria drug several years ago said Wednesday they have come up with a technique to make the process even more efficient, which should increase global access and ...

Early results from clinical trials not all they're cracked up to be, shows new research

February 21, 2018
When people are suffering from a chronic medical condition, they may place their hope on treatments in clinical trials that show early positive results. However, these results may be grossly exaggerated in more than 1 in ...

Clues to obesity's roots found in brain's quality control process

February 20, 2018
Deep in the middle of our heads lies a tiny nub of nerve cells that play a key role in how hungry we feel, how much we eat, and how much weight we gain.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.