My opinion: Though scientists already know how to classify molecules in terms of chirality, which relates to the orientation of the individual atoms, I didn't know that there were more efficient ways of doing so! This comes to play in the medical world in terms of drug usage. In certain situations, our bodies only process either left or right handed drugs, but not both. However, if given the wrong kind of drug, the body may convert it to the kind ready for processing. Thus, drugs that have the correct orientation are processed faster than the ones that don't. The best part may be that the scientists may simulate bodily conditions while observing molecular interactions. Because of this, I'm hoping that this study will lead to drugs that are faster and stronger than the ones we currently have. However, I'd be wary of big pharma using this information to exaggerate what we already know - that is, some drugs work faster than others. How often do you think pharma takes advantage of research? And what other possible benefits may come of this? Feel free to comment.
Published on June 30, 2013 at 1:18 PM · No Comments
Now, a team of scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory and Ohio University has developed a new, simpler way to discern molecular handedness, known as chirality. They used gold-and-silver cubic nanoparticles to amplify the difference in left- and right-handed molecules' response to a particular kind of light. The study, described in the journal Nano Letters, provides the basis for a new way to probe the effects of handedness in molecular interactions with unprecedented sensitivity.
"Our discovery and methods based on this research could be extremely useful for the characterization of biomolecular interactions with drugs, probing protein folding, and in other applications where stereometric properties are important," said Oleg Gang, a researcher at Brookhaven's Center for Functional Nanomaterials and lead author on the paper. "We could use this same approach to monitor conformational changes in biomolecules under varying environmental conditions, such as temperature-and also to fabricate nano-objects that exhibit a chiral response to light, which could then be used as new kinds of nanoscale sensors."