Medicine of the Future: How Scientists are Researching Photosensitive Drugs

Medicine of the Future: How Scientists are Researching Photosensitive Drugs
Photo by Myriam Zilles on Unsplash

Scientists from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and the University of Groningen (the Netherlands) have studied the basics of the action of photosensitive drugs on the example of the interaction of a protein, similar to the human glutamate transporter, with a substance that suppresses it. The authors found that the change in the active substance under the influence of ultraviolet radiation leads to a stronger binding to the protein, due to which its suppression becomes more intense.


Phytopharmacology is a young but promising branch of the development of modern medicine science, which has yet to be perfectly understood.


One of the main challenges in the development of a new drug is to figure out how to deliver it to the receptors on which it should act, without affecting all others, in order to avoid side effects. A very promising way is when you can deliver the medicine everywhere, and then activate it only in the right area and at the right time with the help of external influence, for example, light. The development of photosensitive drugs is engaged in a young field of pharmaceuticals - phytopharmacology. In this area, methods are based on the introduction of parts into bioactive substances that change their structure under the influence of light. The resulting molecules in different approaches, when exposed to light, either begin to perform their function or stop. Despite the rapid development of phytopharmacology.


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Glutamate transporters in the human nervous system siphon glutamate from the synaptic cleft between neurons and prevent overstimulation of receptors. The malfunction of these proteins is associated with many serious illnesses. In ischemia and epilepsy, glutamate transporters can function in the opposite direction, filling the gap with excess glutamate, thereby causing serious disturbances in the functioning of the central nervous system up to the death of neurons. Therefore, selective temporary blocking (inhibition) of these transporters can be beneficial. Some studies have also shown that inhibition of glutamate transporters can be used to treat chronic pain. Therefore, the development of drugs acting on glutamate transporters is of great interest to the scientific community.

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