APOC3: A Promising Target for New Cardiovascular Drugs

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By David Warmflash

Our society, and to some extent even clinical medicine, is focused on blood lipoproteins, especially low density lipoprotein (LDL, the “bad” cholesterol). LDL is at center stage for assessment of one’s risk, and also as a blood value to modify with drugs, such as statins, and dietary change. There are good reasons for this, but another serum value, triglycerides, also plays a key role, yet how many people are aware of their “trig” level? Continue reading

Tocols are Too Cool!

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By Ujwani Nukala

There is an urgent need for compounds that can be used to protect people in case of accidental or terrorist initiated radiological emergencies. Developing compounds that are effective, nontoxic, inexpensive, easy to administer, and capable of being stored for rapid distribution among victims of radiological accidents or attacks, is a pressing but daunting endeavor. In this regard, vitamin E may be the answer. As a well-known antioxidant, vitamin E is effective in scavenging free radicals generated by radiation exposure. Continue reading

Can Good Scientists Make Good Leaders?

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By Padmanabhan (Paddy) Eangoor

Some people are born to be leaders while some are trained to become leaders. Scientists, on the other hand, are born for science but trained to become better scientists. When we picture a leader, it would most likely not be a scientist. That may be because most of us think that these two tracks don’t connect well. Some of us wonder, “Can good scientists make good leaders?” Continue reading

NIH Next Generation Initiative Plan for Rescuing Biomedical Research

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By Vivek Agrahari

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the most important funding source for biomedical research in the U.S. In an effort to provide funding support for young (early- and mid-career) scientists, the NIH proposed on May 2, 2017 the Grant Support Index (GSI) to increase funding through a point system that caps individual primary investigators at three R01 research grants. The initiative is called upon to stabilize the next generation of researchers and generate about 2,000 more grants over the next five years. This is intended to balance the grant distribution and harness a greater diversity of creative ideas. Continue reading

Rethinking Halogen Bonds

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By Andy Coop

Halogens (such as fluorine, chlorine, bromine) are a key component of many natural products, especially marine natural products, but have been widely utilized in the design of drugs. The reason is the unique properties of halogens, such as fluorine replacing hydrogen on aromatics rings, as they share a similar size, yet the halogen will prevent metabolism (through hydroxylation) of the aromatic ring. Also,  the addition of halogens increases lipophilicity, thus transport across lipid membranes, and their electronic properties alters the electronic properties of the drug molecule. All these properties are widely utilized in drug optimization, and the utilization of halogens to mimic functional groups able to participate in hydrogen bonds with the biological target seems an obvious extension but, surprisingly, is more complicated than first appears. Continue reading