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December 7, 2019

Experts recommend initiating research for development of medicines in Pakistan


December 7, 2019

“When a drug target is known, and the mechanism described, this can fail to capture the whole story. Drugs may act at more than one target, and efficacy observed may not always be due to the mechanisms originally expected,” said Dr Jamshed Ali Kazmi, pharmacist, University of British Columbia, Canada, and vice chancellor of Sohail University, on Friday.

He was addressing the audience as the chief guest at the 4th International Conference, titled ‘Challenges in Drug Discovery & Therapeutics’, on the theme of “Improving Quality of Life” at Ziauddin University.

The conference aims to provide a forum for national and international researchers to present research results, solutions to problems and insight into emergent new challenges in drug development and therapeutics.

Talking about target discovery, Dr Kazmi said: “This approach works on the concept that ‘if you want a new drug you must find a new target’. Once a target is identified compound libraries are then screened to find a drug that binds to the target and elicits the desired effect.”

To sum up his presentation regarding both phenotypic and target-based drug discovery approaches, he said, “Each has distinct benefits and challenges, perhaps. And rather than being viewed as opposing drug discovery strategies, they should be seen as complementary, which, if used together, could increase the likelihood of discovering a truly novel therapeutic strategy.”

The guest of honour at the ceremony, Sardar Yasin Malik (HI), chairman, Hilton Pharma, said that this conference showcased a host of senior level experts to discuss recent developments in the industry and debate the best strategies and solutions to improve drug discovery and therapeutics. It is with better understanding of pharmacology that one can know the right dosage, interactions and abuse of drugs, he added.

During the Dr Jafarey Memorial lecture about the need for pharmacovigilance culture, Dr Shazia Qasim Jamshed, assistant professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice, School of Pharmacy, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), said: “Pharmacovigilance is simply to map and certify the safety of medicine from test tube to patient. Safety needs to be monitored for commonly used medicines, and thus healthcare professionals are anticipated to be aware of the principles of pharmacovigilance and practise them for standard patient care.”

“Better-quality patient care revolves around academic detailing of healthcare professionals in drug safety and mutually inclusive, informational exchange setting between national centers followed by linkage of conclusive evidence of drug safety with research and policies,” she added.

Delivering Sir Ziauddin Memorial Lecture to the young scientists on X-ray Crystallography and Drug Design, Dr Masood Parvez, X-ray Crystallographer, University of Calgary, Canada, said: “X-ray crystallography provides the starting point in the form of fractional coordinates of perspective drug molecules obtained from experimental data that may be utilised to rationally design new chemical entities or drugs that could contribute in treating human diseases.”

While talking about “Polypharmacology of Cancer: A Novel Approach of Drug Discovery with Current Challenges and Opportunities”, Dr Huma Rasheed, research scientist, Ampli Tech Inc, USA, highlighted that at present, polypharmacology and chemogenomics had gained a great interest in the design and discovery of novel anticancer drugs. Drug discovery is a highly complex, time-consuming and an integrative process despite a high investment in research and development, she said, adding that recently, the high throughput screening directed drug discovery is facing considerable variations to investigate the failure of drug candidates in clinical trials.

Polypharmacology is one of the major challenges in the drug development since the advent of targeted therapy and leads to the generation of more effective and less toxic therapeutic agents. Drug interaction with multiple targets is promoting the advancement of research areas that challenge the methodological and theoretical approach. The traditional chemotherapeutic drugs directly act on the DNA in the cell, while the newly developed anticancer drugs are involved in molecular-targeted therapy such as targeting the overly expressed genes and proteins inside the cancer cells.

Earlier, in his welcome address, Prof Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui, vice chancellor, Ziauddin University, said: “Our aim is to deliver innovative tools that make drug development and therapeutics more efficient, more cost-effective and more successful. This two-day conference will provide an in-depth understanding of the advances, practices and current challenges in the field of drug discovery and therapeutics. This platform will bring together Scientist. Leaders in academia and health care to discuss this great issue which will continue and despite trying to better ourselves with knowledge, we appear to be far behind in conquering many diseases.”

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