A new method for developing safer drugs

May 10, 2010

Amodiaquine was introduced as an antimalarial drug, but was withdrawn when serious adverse effects were observed.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 This was introduced as an , but was withdrawn from the market when it became clear that the drug caused serious adverse effects in the form of and impaired immune system.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.

Explore further: Secret of tetanus toxicity offers new way to treat motor neuron disease

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Toxicology-on-a-chip tool readies for market

Dec 12, 2005

Recalls of popular prescription drugs are raising public concern about the general safety of new pharmaceuticals. A collaborative group of researchers says that identifying which drug candidates are toxic early ...

A therapy for cocaine toxicity

Apr 26, 2010

Cocaine toxicity due to drug overdose results in more than half a million emergency room visits annually. Despite these alarming statistics, there is no Food and Drug Administration-approved pharmacotherapy specifically designed ...

Study: Drugs from sewage not dangerous

Jul 14, 2006

A Canadian study has suggested adverse effects are unlikely on aquatic life from drugs passed through human waste released from sewage treatment plants.

Recommended for you

Stroke damage mechanism identified

Nov 27, 2014

Researchers have discovered a mechanism linked to the brain damage often suffered by stroke victims—and are now searching for drugs to block it.

User comments : 0

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.