Drug Discovery: Large Molecules

Vaccines

A vaccine is a biological preparation that improves immunity to a particular disease.Whether that’s a disease caused by a bacteria or a virus.
 
Antibodies

An antibody (Ab), also known as an immunoglobulin (Ig), is a large Y-shape protein produced by plasma cells that is used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign objects such as bacteria and viruses. The antibody recognizes a unique part of the foreign target, called an antigen.
 
Cytokines

Cytokines (Greek cyto-, cell; and -kinos, movement) are a broad and loose category of small proteins (~5–20 kDa) that are important in cell signaling. They are released by cells and affect the behavior of other cells, and sometimes the releasing cell itself. Cytokines include chemokines, interferons, interleukins, lymphokines, tumour necrosis factor but generally not hormones or growth factors (despite some terminologic overlap). Cytokines are produced by a broad range of cells, including immune cells like macrophages, B lymphocytes, T lymphocytes and mast cells, as well as endothelial cells, fibroblasts, and various stromal cells; a given cytokine may be produced by more than one type of cell.
 
Hormones

A hormone (from Greek ὁρμή, “impetus”) is a class of signaling molecules produced by glands in multicellular organisms that are transported by the circulatory system to target distant organs to regulate physiology and behaviour. Hormones have diverse chemical structures that include eicosanoids, steroids, amino acid derivatives, peptides, and proteins. The glands that secrete hormones comprise the endocrine signaling system. The term hormone is sometimes extended to include chemicals produced by cells that affect the same cell (autocrine or intracrine signalling) or nearby cells (paracrine signalling).
 
Gene Therapy

Gene therapy is the use of DNA as a drug to treat disease by delivering therapeutic DNA into a patient’s cells. The most common form of gene therapy involves using DNA that encodes a functional, therapeutic gene to replace a mutated gene. Other forms involve directly correcting a mutation, or using DNA that encodes a therapeutic protein drug (rather than a natural human gene) to provide treatment. In gene therapy, DNA that encodes a therapeutic protein is packaged within a “vector”, which is used to get the DNA inside cells within the body. Once inside, the DNA becomes expressed by the cell machinery, resulting in the production of therapeutic protein, which in turn treats the patient’s disease.

 

Stem Cells

Stem cells are undifferentiated biological cells that can differentiate into specialized cells and can divide (through mitosis) to produce more stem cells. They are found in multicellular organisms. In mammals, there are two broad types of stem cells: embryonic stem cells, which are isolated from the inner cell mass of blastocysts, and adult stem cells, which are found in various tissues. In adult organisms, stem cells and progenitor cells act as a repair system for the body, replenishing adult tissues. In a developing embryo, stem cells can differentiate into all the specialized cells—ectoderm, endoderm and mesoderm (see induced pluripotent stem cells)—but also maintain the normal turnover of regenerative organs, such as blood, skin, or intestinal tissues.
 
Blood Products

A blood substitute (also called artificial blood or blood surrogates) is a substance used to mimic and fulfill some functions of biological blood. It aims to provide an alternative to blood transfusion, which is transferring blood or blood-based products from one person into another. Thus far, there are no well-accepted oxygen-carrying blood substitutes, which is the typical objective of a red blood cell transfusion; however, there are widely available non-blood volume expanders for cases where only volume restoration is required. These are helping doctors and surgeons avoid the risks of disease transmission and immune suppression, address the chronic blood donor shortage, and address the concerns of Jehovah’s Witnesses and others who have religious objections to receiving transfused blood.

Taken from Wikipedia

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