Discovery opens door for better way of making medicine

Jan 25, 2013
Professor Daniel Ess

(Phys.org)—To make most medicines, metals like copper are needed for a critical chemical reaction.

Afterward, pharmaceutical makers need to remove the metal to make the material safe for .

They might be spared the trouble in the future thanks to a discovery by a Brigham Young University chemist and collaborators at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

The researchers did something that has eluded scientists for several decades: They converted typically unreactive boronic acids to compounds known as aryl amines. The aryl amine functionality is ubiquitous in chemistry and this new methodology provides a novel route to their synthesis – without the use of a .

"This is a conceptual breakthrough and a novel reaction more than anything," said BYU chemistry professor Daniel Ess.

The findings were published recently in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. The industry magazine Chemical and Engineering News also highlighted the work.

Ess and his students at BYU use theories to predict which organic materials could produce desired reactions. Typically, their work guides how the researchers at Southwestern Medical Center set up their experiments.

This time, however, it worked in reverse: Laszlo Kurti of Southwestern Medical found a successful compound and asked Ess to figure out why it worked.

"A whole bunch of other compounds look very similar but failed," Ess said. "This one has the proper reactivity without decomposing. One of the bonds doesn't break until it goes in the reaction."

Pharmaceutical companies won't be the only ones interested in developing this approach. The study authors note the potential agricultural uses with the production of pesticides and fertilizers.

Explore further: Deconstruction of avant-garde cuisine could lead to even more fanciful dishes

Related Stories

Novel chemical reaction

Apr 16, 2012

(Phys.org) -- A chemical reaction reported by University of Delaware assistant professor Donald Watson and his laboratory group has set the chemistry world abuzz for its creativity and potential utility. 

Organic chemistry: Amino acids made easy

May 04, 2011

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. There are 22 different amino acids and they can combine in a myriad ways to form a vast array of proteins. All amino acids except glycine are chiral molecules, ...

Recommended for you

Characterizing an important reactive intermediate

12 hours ago

An international group of researchers led by Dr. Warren E. Piers (University of Calgary) and Dr. Heikki M. Tuononen (University of Jyväskylä) has been able to isolate and characterize an important chemical ...

Surfaces that communicate in bio-chemical Braille

12 hours ago

A Braille-like method that enables medical implants to communicate with a patient's cells could help reduce biomedical and prosthetic device failure rates, according to University of Sydney researchers.

New material steals oxygen from the air

Sep 30, 2014

Researchers from the University of Southern Denmark have synthesized crystalline materials that can bind and store oxygen in high concentrations. Just one spoon of the substance is enough to absorb all the ...

User comments : 0