A post in Derek Lowe’s blog pointed to an interesting technique for probing the mechanism by which a drug acts.
These guys came up with a molecule that was effective against several diseases and then used selection pressures to breed a strain that was resistant in the laboratory. When they sequenced the genomes of the original and the resistant version, they looked for differences that would point to the drug’s target. Seems like a cool and effective way to let nature guide the investigation. As long as the resistant organism never leaves the lab you’ve got an effective drug and a good idea about why the drug works.
Three Diseases at Once?
I think this article from Ars Technica shows the true power of modern nanotechnology. This isn’t little nano-bots crawling around, this is serious applied science and that fact that these guys can now get amazingly specific items custom made.
This process started with a need to measure the viscosity (thickness) of the fluid in blood samples in order to diagnose health problems. This is complex because blood is a mess of various tiny items that get in the way. Existing approaches involved separating the liquid part from everything else and then testing it on its own and were slow and expensive. Continue reading Blood viscosity and gold corkscrews…