Chemical & Engineering News: Weekly highlights

S.J.P.

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The American Chemical Society publishes a weekly news magazine entitled Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), and all ACS members are eligible to receive it. I get the magazine in the mail every week (all the issues are online as well, but since I was very young I have always enjoyed receiving magazines in the mail). While perusing a couple of the latest issues today, it occurred to me that there are quite a few stories in the magazine that would likely be of interest to N&PD posters, as there is a significant focus on drug development and the pharmaceutical industry. Luckily, non-subscribers can still access the stories online. The stories in C&EN are written in a very readable fashion. I wouldn't say they are quite written for the layperson (which is why I figured this thread would be better off in N&PD than in DitM), but the authors try to minimise jargon and explain technical concepts in simple terms, and more often than not the stories link to a scientific article. The stories tend to avoid hyperbolic claims and to describe published research in an even-handed manner, something that is sorely lacking in most non-technical stories on scientific topics.

Since I read the magazine every week, I thought I'd start posting the stories that I come across that are (to my approximation) most relevant to the interests of the contributors and readers of this forum. Here are those that I came across for the past two issues:

August 13/20, 2018:

Scorpion venom yields novel alkaloid

Atropisomers in drug development

Chemistry of the Chinese liquor "baijiu"

August 27, 2018:

Mass spectrometry measures chemical exposures in e-cigarette users' mouths

China speeds up drug approvals

Is machine learning in chemistry overhyped?
 

MyExcuse

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Thank you, this makes me want to become a member so I can get the magazine as well (Im a fan of print media as well).

Thank you for sharing!!!
 

Limpet_Chicken

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Interesting about the alkaloidal fraction in scorpion venom. Scorpion venoms are quite fascinating in their diversity and some odd quirks some of the fractions in the venom of certain species, such as Parabuthus spp., P.transvaalicus is able to fire its venom, as a defensive tactic, like some cobras and the mangshan pit viper do (the mangshan viper doesn't have holes in the front of its fangs, but rather, flicks streams of venom at the target)

And the notorious deathstalker, Leiurus quinquestriatus, one of the peptidic components of the venom of this highly venomous species, chlorotoxin, is a highly selective ligand for malignant glioma cells, a brain cancer notorious for being nasty, malignant and generally resistant to treatment.

I keep thinking 'why not attach a highly radioactive MAB or incorporate some tritium or radio-fluorine to replace a hydrogen somewhere non-critical for binding, for imaging tumours, and selectively administering radiotherapy, why irradiate large portions of the most vital organ we have when there is the potential to make a homing missile that will seek and destroy tumour cells and the cancerous cells alone?

Then there is the oddball scorpion Hemiscorpius lepturus. Almost all scorpions with a dangerous sting are in the family Buthidae, non-Buthid scorpions are generally harmless, not Hemiscorpius lepturus, not a Buthid, its found in iran, iraq, and around the mesopotamian region in a few nearby countries, and it is lethal in the extreme. It causes something like 80% give or take ten percent, of scorpion sting fatalities in the area. To put that into perspective, the main dangerous scorpion aside from a few of the Hemiscorpius spp. and H.lepturus in particular, to be found around there is Androctonus crassicauda! H.lepturus is unlike most scorpions,the scorpion alpha-toxins, etc, all neurotoxic, most acting either on sodium channel inactivation kinetics, a few on calcium and potassium channels, the venom of H.lepturus is a very potent cytotoxic, slower acting than the neurotoxic scorpion venoms, but its capable of flaying someone alive, I've seen pictures of sting aftermath, and its horrific, like a third degree burn going down into muscle and connective tissues, rotting from the inside.

There's a spider that does that too, related to the recluses (Loxosceles), some can cause a long lasting ulcer, and L.laeta, the chilean recluse can kill, but their relatives, the Sicariids, damn. They rarely end up coming into hostile contact with people due to their being desert species, which cover themselves in sand and bury themselves, so they can bushwack their prey with their lightening-fast reactions. Probably the deadliest spiders around, no antivenin afaik, and they produce similar cytotoxic venom, based on the enzyme sphingomyelinase-D, which destroys tissue, but they produce orders of magnitudes greater levels than do any Loxosceles species. Apparently some Sicarius species are becoming popular in the funky pet trade.

I've heard of two bites in people. One lost an arm, the other died of massive DIC and tissue necrosis. I've heard of the venom being compared to that of a puff adder or gaboon viper in terms of danger to people
 

S.J.P.

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January 21, 2019:

The new drugs of 2018

There were an astronomical 59 new drugs approved by the FDA in 2018 - way more than in any previous year. Out of these, 38 (64% ) were small molecules.

NSFW:


The article contains an interactive table which displays the molecular structures of (along with other info on) all the new drugs. It's definitely worth a look!

The small-molecule CNS drugs that were approved:


Akynzeo, for nausea


Lucemyra (lofexidine hydrochloride), for opioid withdrawal


Epidiolex (cannabidiol), for Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome


Diacomit (stiripentol), for Dravet syndrome
 
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clubcard

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Well worth weekly posting, S.J.P. May I also suggest 'In The Pipeline'? https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/

What I have discovered is that a polite E-mail with a quick question almost never goes unanswered. Dr. Dave, Capn Cook, Dan Lednicer and so on. They are quite amazing people but also uber-nerds; they LOVE to share ideas.
 

S.J.P.

Sr. Moderator: N&PD, DitM
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S.J.P.

Sr. Moderator: N&PD, DitM
Staff member
Joined
Jan 22, 2011
Messages
3,241
Location
Canada
February 11, 2019:

Two common flavoring chemicals in e-cigarettes can damage lung cells

Naica's crystal cave captivates chemists

The photos from the latter article are incredible:

NSFW:






April 1, 2019:

Scientists use propofol to disrupt people’s traumatic memories

Priestley Medal address 2019: A simple life—finding function and making connections

The latter is a speech by K. Barry Sharpless, one of the great geniuses of synthetic chemistry. It's worth the read!

April 8, 2018:

Cyclic peptide could provide pain relief without causing euphoria

Polymer nanoparticles extend release of opioid overdose antidote

How your gut might modify your mind

I find the premise that gut bacteria can, in a sense, control how you think and feel highly unnerving.

April 15, 2019:

Ketamine helps neurons regrow lost connections
 
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