Scientific American Purposely ignoring Rational Drug Design?

pgalatin at pgalatin at
Thu Sep 14 23:11:15 EST 1995

I was excited to read the Scientific American "technology" issue that came out 
recently, but one aspect of it disturbed me... I'm an MD-PhD student extremely
interested in structure-based rational drug design as a field of research. 
While I'm in love (I guess this is the best way to put it) with the idea of
using x-ray crystallography and NMR to design molecular medicines, I have also 
noticed that gene therapy seems to be eclipsing inhibitor design as a modality
of molecular medicine. An apparent example for me was the lip service in the
Scientific American issue given to gene therapy while none was given to the 
very "beautiful" synthesis of computer graphics with protein structure. It
led me to wonder whether this happened simply because SciAm had room for only
one article about technology in the health sciences, or were they trying to tell
me/us something about their opinion of rational drug design? What do people here
think about the structure-based drug design field? Should the relatively modest
gains after about fifteen-or-so years be taken as a warning sign to those who
are about to enter the field (i.e., me)? I appreciate any and all feedback
on this "nagging" question of mine...

Peter S. Galatin
M.D.-Ph.D. Student
Medical College of Virginia
Richmond, VA, USA

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