#Drug discovery has been given a helping hand in the form of a computer to assist in designing medicines virtually. Structure-based design uses computer analyses to help identify a target for a drug by allowing researchers to manipulate molecules on their computer screens. Researchers can then create tailor made compounds that attack disease-causing proteins. #Pfizer successfully used structure-based design last year when creating Xalkori, used to treat a rare form of lung cancer. Other companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi and Eli Lilly are also using structure-based design in various stages in drug development. Magid Abou-Gharbia, the director of Temple University’s Moulder Center for Drug Discovery Research and the former head of drug discovery at Wyeth, believes pharmaceutical companies are being given the opportunity to find treatments they may not have been able to without computer-aided design. "You will actually increase the chance of success for coming up with a clinical [drug] candidate” by using it, he says. However researchers remind us that there are challenges in using structure-based design and it should be viewed as an instrument for boosting companies' drug discovery efforts not revolutionizing them. Tony Wood, Vice President and Worldwide Head of Medicinal Chemistry from Pfizer, says "It doesn't tell us everything, but it gives us a very good clue."
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