Safer drugs thanks to a new solution to a 150-year-old chemistry problem?
Just like gloves, molecules come in so-called left-handed and right-handed versions. Until now, however, it could be determined only with great difficulty whether a certain molecule is right-handed or left-handed. In medicine, this would be a big step forward because, for example, the unwanted side effects of drugs could be avoided. In the current issue of the journal Science, a team of researchers from Germany, Canada and Switzerland reports a new solution to a 150-year old problem.
The phenomenon of molecules with handedness is well known in yogurt: the bacterial cultures produce levo- or dextrorotatory lactic acid; of these two types, one form has a more favorable influence on intestinal flora than the other. In other substances, the second version is less harmless and causes damage: for example, while one form of penicillamine is effective against arthritis, its mirror image is more toxic.
“Enlargement” due to explosion
But how can we determine whether molecules are right- or left-handed? Until now, it was possible to directly determine handedness only in solid, crystalline substances using a special process in which the crystal structure was analyzed using X-rays. “The problem with this method is that it is not easy to crystallize every substance or to simply incorporate it into a suitable crystal. Therefore, we investigated a method in which the handedness can be determined directly in the gas phase” explains Prof. Robert Berger of the Clemens-Schöpf Institute at TU Darmstadt.
A variety of applications
“This method opens new perspectives for the investigation and analysis of handed molecules in physics, chemistry and pharmaceutics” predicts Dr. Markus Schöffler of the Institute of Nuclear Physics at Goethe University. For example, drugs could be produced in which only the molecules of the desired handedness are present. As a result, the dosage could be reduced. But other industries would also benefit: in carvone, a component of essential oils, for example, the handedness determines whether it smells like spearmint or caraway. In other substances, the flavor changes from bitter to sweet, for instance.
The Latest on: Left and right handed molecules
- Chemists find way to prevent side effects from malaria medication on December 6, 2018 at 5:21 am
Mirrored molecules cause different effects in ... "The production of Mefloquine creates a left-handed and right-handed molecule; the left-handed molecule is the mirror image of the right-hand ... […]
- CCS Secures Hach Grant, New Chemistry Equipment on December 4, 2018 at 5:55 am
A polarimeter is a device that is used to study chiral molecules. These chiral molecules behave as though they possess a handedness, either right-handed or left-handed. The left handed version of the ... […]
- New optical sensor can determine if molecules are left or right 'handed' on June 13, 2018 at 3:35 pm
Determining chirality is critical for new drug development. Think of molecules as having little hands. They are not identical, but they serve almost undistinguishable functions. You can grip, pinch, p... […]
- New UCF Optical Sensor Can Determine if Molecules are Left or Right 'Handed' on June 8, 2018 at 7:10 am
Researchers create new optical technique to detect molecular chirality. A University of Central Florida team has designed a nanostructured optical sensor that for the first time can efficiently detect ... […]
- Stanford researchers developing new technique that uses light to separate mirrored molecules on September 25, 2017 at 8:47 am
“Approximately 50 percent of drugs and 30 percent of agrichemicals are chiral, which means they can be left- or right-handed. Of those, more than 90 percent are sold as mixtures of both handed molecul... […]
- Decades-long research culminates in a new way of creating left- and right-handed molecules on May 1, 2017 at 1:05 pm
An international team of researchers, led by Mark E. Davis at Caltech, has succeeded in making the first chiral molecular sieves. This discovery opens new areas of investigation in both chemistry and ... […]
- Astronomers Find 'Handed' Molecule in Space on June 15, 2016 at 6:47 am
The chirality of molecules corresponds to "handedness"—that is, different versions of the same molecule can be oriented in different ways, in much the same way that you have a right and a left hand. Y... […]
- Researchers evolve a molecule that flips the orientation of life on October 30, 2014 at 10:30 am
Through a little test-tube based evolution, they were able to make an RNA molecule that could copy other RNA molecules with the opposite chirality. In other words, they made a right hand that could on... […]
- Focus: Electron Handedness Affects Gas Molecule Breakup on September 12, 2014 at 3:11 pm
Experiments show that beams of left- or right-handed electrons are not equal-opportunity destroyers of molecules having two mirror-image forms, which supports the idea that primordial cosmic rays gene... […]
- Life: It is All Left-Handed, and We Don’t Know Why: on June 15, 2014 at 5:00 pm
These molecules responsible for allowing life to exist are ‘chiral,’ which basically means each molecule comes in two forms that are mirror images. Based off the configuration of these amino acids, th... […]
via Google News and Bing News