Discovery opens door for better way of making medicine

January 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: New chemical reaction offers opportunities for drug development

Related Stories

New chemical reaction offers opportunities for drug development

November 12, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists at University College Dublin have solved a chemistry problem which has stumped researchers worldwide for more than a decade. The results have earned the group the cover story of the leading scientific ...

Organic chemistry: Amino acids made easy

May 4, 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, meaning they ...

Novel chemical reaction

April 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. 

Recommended for you

Findings illuminate animal evolution in protein function

July 27, 2015

Virginia Commonwealth University and University of Richmond researchers recently teamed up to explore the inner workings of cells and shed light on the 400–600 million years of evolution between humans and early animals ...

New polymer able to store energy at higher temperatures

July 30, 2015

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers at the Pennsylvania State University has created a new polymer that is able to store energy at higher temperatures than conventional polymers without breaking down. In their paper published ...

How to look for a few good catalysts

July 30, 2015

Two key physical phenomena take place at the surfaces of materials: catalysis and wetting. A catalyst enhances the rate of chemical reactions; wetting refers to how liquids spread across a surface.

Yarn from slaughterhouse waste

July 29, 2015

ETH researchers have developed a yarn from ordinary gelatine that has good qualities similar to those of merino wool fibers. Now they are working on making the yarn even more water resistant.

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.