Chapter 1 - Molecular Tour (MOL S11)

Chapter 1 - Molecular Tour (MOL S11) - Chapter 1: A...

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Chapter 1: A Molecular Tour 1 CHAPTER 1: A MOLECULAR TOUR – Aspirin and Vioxx 1.1 INTRODUCTION: Why Study the Molecules of Life? The study of biological molecules occurs at the interface of chemistry, biology, and medicine. 1.2 AN ASPIRIN’S TOUR OF THE HUMAN BODY 1.2.1 What Is Aspirin and Where Does it Come From? Aspirin is a synthetic chemical compound that is derived from the bark of the willow tree. 1.2.2 How Does Aspirin Work? Aspirin inhibits an enzyme that facilitates the synthesis of inflammatory molecules. 1.3 A NEW GENERATION OF PAINKILLER DRUGS 1.3.1 Can Aspirin Be Improved? Vioxx and Celebrex selectively inhibit only one variant of the COX enzyme. 1.3.2 How Do We Know that Drugs are Safe and Effective? All pharmaceuticals sold in the U.S. are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. 1.4 CHAPTER SUMMARY
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Chapter 1: A Molecular Tour 2 1.1 INTRODUCTION: Why Study the Molecules of Life? At the beginning of the 21st century, scientific research is providing unprecedented new insights into the structure and function of biological molecules. These “molecules of life” are essential for every biological process that takes place in every living organism. We are gaining a deeper understanding of how life itself depends on interactions between various molecules and how molecular malfunctions are implicated in a variety of human diseases. Researchers in universities and industry are now utilizing the accumulated knowledge of biological molecules to design better pharmaceuticals, with improved treatment of symptoms and reduced problematic side effects. Studying the “molecules of life” takes place at the interface of chemistry, biology, and medicine (Figure 1.1). Figure 1.1 Scientific investigations of the “molecules of life” exist at the interface of chemistry, biology, and medicine. CONCEPT QUESTION 1.1 Identify one pharmaceutical that you are currently taking or that you have taken in the past. What is the reason that you took the drug? How do you think it works in your body? As scientists and physicians continue to advance the frontiers of knowledge, we all need to make important personal and societal decisions based on this new scientific information. Consider the following four scenarios: You are suffering from a bad cold and decide to go to the college health center. After an examination, your doctor gives you a prescription for antibiotics. Once back in your dorm room, however, you watch a television news program that highlights the problem of antibiotic resistant microbes. Should you stop taking the medicine? Should you return to the doctor to discuss your concerns? CHEMISTRY BIOLOGY MEDICINE MOLECULES OF LIFE
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Chapter 1: A Molecular Tour 3 We have all seen advertisements for herbal supplements and their claim to improve our physical and mental health. They have the appeal of offering a “natural” remedy and you may be taking one of these supplements yourself. But how do you know that they work? What is the “active ingredient” in the supplement and how much of it is present?
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This note was uploaded on 11/05/2011 for the course MAP V55.0310.0 taught by Professor Tracejordan during the Spring '11 term at NYU.

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Chapter 1 - Molecular Tour (MOL S11) - Chapter 1: A...

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