Atoms to Galaxies, 22 May
From bench to bedside: How difficult is it to make new medicines?
Small-molecule medicines have changed our society, permitting the successful treatment of infectious pathogens to so-called “disease of affluence” and mental illnesses. But what does it take to develop a new drug and to bring it from the bench to the bedside? Historically, drugs were discovered serendipitously and were usually isolated from natural sources. Today, drug discovery efforts take many years and cost hundreds of millions of dollars. They also require the input of hundreds of specialists from a multitude of backgrounds to ensure that therapeutic compounds are effective and safe. Given these challenges, and the reality that most drug development efforts fail, you may be surprised to learn that we have any medicines at all!
Protein Biomarkers for Better Birthdays
Medical testing is one of the least cheerful aspects of getting older. The field of proteomics seeks biomarker proteins that can inform doctors of growing health threats, ideally from a blood test rather than a colonoscopy! The biomarker field is now moving from one bellwether protein to panels of proteins, greatly complicating analysis.
Dr Vasaant Krishnan
Radio astronomy with MeerKAT
MeerKAT allows us to study astronomical objects like never before. These include the centre of the Milky Way, dead stars, and the largest gravitationally bound structures in the known Universe.