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After more than fifty years of blockbuster drug development, skeptics are beginning to fear we may be reaching the end of drug discovery to combat major diseases. In this engaging book, Brent Stockwell, a leading researcher in the exciting new science of chemical biology, describes this dilemma and the powerful techniques that may bring drug research into the twenty-first century.
Filled with absorbing stories of breakthroughs, the book begins with the scientific achievements of the twentieth century that led to today's drug innovations. We learn how the invention of mustard gas in World War led to early anti-cancer agents and how the efforts to decode the human genome might lead to new approaches in drug design. Stockwell then turns to the seemingly incurable diseases we face today, such as Alzheimer's, many cancers, and others with no truly effective medicines, and describes cellular and molecular barriers thwarting scientists who use tools from traditional pharmaceutical research.
Scientists such as Stockwell are now developing methods to combat these complexities& mdash;technologies for constructing and testing millions of drug candidates, sophisticated computational modeling, and entirely new classes of drug molecules& mdash;all with an eye toward solving the most profound mysteries of living systems and finding cures for intractable diseases. If successful, these methods will unlock a vast terrain of untapped drug targets that could lead to a bounty of breakthrough medicines. Offering a rare, behind-the-scenes look at this cutting-edge research, The Quest for the Cure tells a thrilling story of science, persistence, and the quest underway to develop a new generation of cures.
This very readable, even exciting work takes us through the medical breakthroughs of the past century.
— Derek B. Lowe
In this well-researched look into the complexities of making medicines, a chemical biologist gives a history of drug making and details innovative methods of drug discovery.
Despite our current political paralysis, government leaders should listen to Stockwell and be certain to advance our capacity to generate the drugs that our society and the world need.
The book is well organized and includes many interesting, clever analogies to explain what can be complicated scientific problems.
— Donald C. Lo
The dearth of promising new treatments for many a serious disease remains a major challenge not just for the pharmaceutical industry but for all of society. In this exhaustively researched book, Brent R. Stockwell surveys the history of drug development and offers insightful suggestions for innovative new approaches. This is critical reading for the many involved in and concerned about this urgent issue.
This is a terrific book! Stockwell's writing is clear and engaging as he presents a thoughtful analysis of drug development that can be understood and appreciated by a diverse readership. Stockwell beautifully combines scientific history and personal anecdotes with clear explanations of the principles and practices of chemical biology to make a fascinating story of the past, present, and future of drug discovery. His book is informative, accurate, and a good read all put together.
This is a truly wonderful book. Stockwell's writing will open the door to a universe that many readers may know little about. Drugs are born, biotech companies are created, scientists' careers are made and unmade, egos are raised and dashed. This book is so readable, it is an absolute page-turner. Yet it is also authoritative and scientifically sophisticated, managing to distill a complex, changing field into a beautifully written, well-crafted story.
This book deserves a readership, and there is certainly a need for it. As a drug companyresearcher, I have often wished that more people understood what the field was likeand how simultaneously fascinating and frustrating it can be.
An engaging and rewarding read...
The reader is not only left with a satisfying overview of the proud history and future challenges of finding new medicines but also encouragement that Stockwell and his contemporaries are creatively committed to academic drug discovery.
Stockwell writes well -- his prose is accessible to the educated reader, irrespective of his or her background. All of the personalities, errors and successes in contemporary drug discovery are presented. Stockwell enlivens their stories with anecdotes...
It is impossible to read this relatively short book...without being captured by the author's optimism about the future of drug development.
— David Kroll
— Garrett A. FitzGerald
List of Illustrations xi
Part 1 The Vanishing Cures
1 The Drug Discovery Crisis 3
2 A New Science of Molecules 24
3 The Birth of the First Cancer Drugs 45
4 A New Company Creating Drug Combinations 66
5 The Undruggable RAS Protein 81
6 The Druggable Genome 101
Part 2 The Path to the Next Generation of Medicines
7 Peering Inside Proteins 119
8 The Nature of Interactions Between Proteins 139
9 From Protein-Protein Interactions to Personalized Medicines 156
10 A Revolution in Peptide Synthesis 169
11 A Vast Array of Drug Candidates 185
12 Moving Outside the Small Molecule Box 205
13 Acceleratingthe Arrival of Next-Generation Drugs 224