A new technique for accurately targeting molecules within cells is paving the way for safer medicines that are free of side effects. Researcher J. Julius Zhu and his colleagues have developed a way to manipulate the molecules from the compartment to the compartment within individual cells.
The same molecules do different things according to their location, the researchers determined. By manipulating molecules, scientists can determine exactly which locations to attack and avoid locations that would cause harmful side effects.
"The problem with side effects is because you can not distinguish molecules that do different things in the same cell," Zhu said.
"If you blocked a molecule, you blocked it regardless of what it was doing, and that usually has unwanted side effects." Almost all medications that can treat diseases have side effects, whether major or minor, but generally they always have something "he added. Read : Side Effects of Medications and Adverse Drug Reactions: Causes, Treatment and Complications
So far, medications have been targeted to molecules in a very general way. If a molecule was thought to be harmful, researchers could try to develop a drug to block it completely.
But Zhu's new work highlights the disadvantage of that approach. A molecule can be causing problems because of what it is doing in one part of the cell, but, at the same time, that same molecule is doing something completely different in other parts.
So shutting it down completely would be like trying to solve the problem of traffic congestion by banning cars.
Now, instead of trying rudely to block a molecule independently of its many functions, doctors can point to a specific molecule that does something specific in a specific location. That adds a new level of precision to the concept of precision medicine, medicine adapted exactly to the needs of the patient.
Zhu and his team of researchers believe that the technique will be useful for many different diseases, but especially for cancers and neurological conditions such as autism and Alzheimer's.
Those, in particular, will benefit from a better understanding of which molecules in which locations would be good targets.
The technique will also accelerate the development of new treatments by allowing researchers to understand more quickly which molecules are doing and which should be the target. "The idea [behind the technique] is actually very simple," Zhu added.
The study appears in the newspaper Neuron.
Source : ANI
Source image: Shutterstock  Published: July 8, 2018 2:39 p.m.