4 Top Pharmacological Discoveries in 2015
The past year has been very fruitful for pharmaceutical industry. Scientists have made particular progress in the field of medicine. Mankind has made amazing discoveries, scientific breakthroughs and created many useful drugs. We offer you to get acquainted with the most amazing pharmaceutical breakthroughs of 2015, which will definitely make a serious contribution to the development of pharmaceutical industry in the very near future.
1. Discovery of teixobactin
In 2014, the World Health Organization warned everyone that humanity was entering the so-called post-antibiotic era. They were right. Since 1987, science and medicine have not produced truly new types of antibiotics. However, the disease does not stand still. Each year brings new infections that are more resistant to existing medicines. This has become a real world problem. Nevertheless, in 2015, scientists made a discovery that, in their opinion, will bring cardinal changes.
Scientists have discovered a new class of antibiotics from 25 antimicrobials, including teixobactin. This antibiotic kills microbes, blocking their ability to produce new cells. In other words, microbes cannot develop under the influence of this medicine and develop resistance to the drug over time. Teixobactin has so far proven to be highly effective in the fight against resistant Staphylococcus aureus and several bacteria that cause tuberculosis.
Laboratory tests of teixobactin were performed on mice. The vast majority of experiments showed the effectiveness of the drug. Human trials are due to begin in 2017.
2. Cancer medication that can help Parkinson’s disease patients
Tasigna (or nilotinib) is an approved medicine that is commonly used to treat people with signs of leukemia. However, a new study by Georgetown University Medical Center shows that Tasigna can be a very powerful agent for controlling motor symptoms in people with Parkinson’s disease, improving their motor function and controlling the non-motor symptoms of this disease.
Fernando Pagan, one of the doctors who conducted this study, believes that nilotinib therapy may be an effective method to reduce the degradation of cognitive and motor function in patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.
For six months, scientists have given increased doses of nilotinib to 12 volunteer patients. All 12 patients who completed this test of the drug to the end showed an improvement in motor function. 10 of them noted a significant improvement.
The main objective of this study was to check the safety and harmlessness of nilotinib on the human body. The dose used was much lower than that usually given to patients with leukemia. Despite the fact that the drug showed its effectiveness, the study was still conducted on a small group of people without the involvement of control groups. Therefore, before Tasigna will be used as a therapy for Parkinson’s disease, several more tests and scientific studies will be carried out.
3. Birth control pills for men
Japanese scientists from the Osaka Microbial Disease Research Institute in Osaka have published a new scientific paper according to which in the near future we will be able to produce real-life birth control pills for men. In their work, scientists describe the study of Tacrolimus and Cyclosporin A.
Typically, these drugs are used after organ transplant surgery to suppress the body’s immune system so that it does not tear away new tissue. The blockade occurs due to the inhibition of the production of the calcineurin enzyme, which contains the proteins PPP3R2 and PPP3CC, commonly found in male seed.
In their study on laboratory mice, scientists found that as soon as PPP3CC protein is insufficiently produced in rodent organisms, their reproductive functions are drastically reduced. This led researchers to the conclusion that insufficient volume of this protein can lead to sterility. After a more thorough study, the experts concluded that this protein gives sperm cells the flexibility and necessary strength and energy to penetrate the egg membrane.
Testing on healthy mice only confirmed their discovery. Only five days of using the Tacrolimus and Cyclosporin A preparations led to the complete sterility of mice. However, their reproductive function fully recovered only a week after they were stopped giving these drugs. It is important to note that Cyclosporin is not a hormone, so the use of drugs in no way reduces the sex drive and excitability of the body.
Despite promising results, it will take several years to create real male birth control pills. About 80 percent of studies in mice are not applicable for human cases. However, scientists still hope for success since the effectiveness of the drugs has been proven. In addition, similar drugs have already passed human clinical trials and are widely used.
4. Artificial production of tetrahydrocannabinol
For many years, marijuana has been used in medicine as an anesthetic and, in particular, to improve the condition of patients with cancer and AIDS. A synthetic substitute for marijuana, or rather its main psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC), is also actively used in medicine.
However, biochemists from the Technical University of Dortmund have announced the creation of a new type of yeast that produces THC. Moreover, according to unpublished data, these same scientists created another type of yeast that produces cannabidiol, another psychoactive component of marijuana.
Marijuana contains several molecular compounds that are of interest to researchers. Therefore, the discovery of an effective artificial way to create these components in large quantities could be of great benefit to medicine. However, the method of conventional plant growth and subsequent extraction of the necessary molecular compounds is now the most effective way. Within 30% of the dry weight of modern marijuana species, the desired THC component may be contained.
Despite this, Dortmund scientists are confident that they will be able to find a more efficient and faster way to mine THC in the future. To date, the created yeast fungus is re-grown on molecules of the same fungus instead of the preferred alternative as simple saccharides. All this leads to the fact that the amount of the free component of THC decreases with each new batch of yeast.
In the future, scientists promise to optimize the process, maximize THC production and scale up to industrial needs, which ultimately will satisfy the needs of medical research and European regulators looking for new ways to produce tetrahydrocannabinol without growing marijuana.