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PHARMACOINFORMATICS: Revolutionizing drug discovery research






Drug Discovery




Drug discovery is a time consuming and expensive process which requires multidisciplinary approaches from extremely diverse sciences.



The use of substances to cure or mitigate ailments had been in practice from long back. Our ancient forefathers used natural substances like opium, ephedra etc. The practice of traditional medicine was developed to an admirable level notably in ancient India and China. In India, the system called Ayurveda stood for the harmony between the mind and the body.

The development of modern medicine as we see today perhaps started with the progress in the fundamental principles of Chemistry in 18th century. As we know, scientists like Avagadro, Kekule etc laid the foundation stones to the progress in this field. Also the isolation, extraction and purification of active ingredients from plant extracts during the 18th century gave momentum to it's progress.


When we analyze the history of drug discoveries, we find that almost all discoveries were serendipitous. We know how much impact was made by the discovery of penicillin in human life. Same is the case with the discovery of sulfonamides and insulin.


Stages of Drug Discovery:

Drug discovery, as I mentioned before, is not only a very costly, tedious and time consuming affair, but also inherently  risky. Roughly on an average, it takes 10-15 years and can cost above 800 million US$. There are various distinct and sequential stages of a drug discovery project, starting from a disease, finding a target and then selecting potential drug candidates till one of it reaches the market after expensive clinical trials. It is a very large area to be discussed here. But I found these links if any of you are interested further about it.



Total number of drugs discovered till now are about 8000. But somewhat surprising fact is that, we successfully explored  only about 500 proteins in our body till now. That means, these drugs act at only 500 proteins whereas human body supposedly  contains about 40000 to 60000 proteins! So how do we see the future? Just continue with the same way as it was before or try to progress ahead with the new concepts and technologies?




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