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Interdisciplinary approach of pharmacology, pharmaceutical chemistry & pharmacognosy to boost drug discovery

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Friday, December 2, 2022, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The interdisciplinary approach of pharmacology, pharmaceutical chemistry and pharmacognosy, combined as phyto pharmaceutical study, will accelerate the pace of drug research and plant medicine in the country. It will boost the development of personalized medicine and targeted drug therapy across modern medicine and Ayush.

To this end, this interdisciplinary approach of pharmacology, pharmaceutical chemistry and pharmacognosy is introduced into undergraduate and post graduate level following the new syllabus of the Pharmacy Council of India, said Dr Md. Salahuddin, principal, Al-Ameen College of Pharmacy and general secretary, Karnataka State Pharmacy College Teachers Association.

While pharmacology focuses on medication, pharmaceutical chemistry involves pharmacology, biochemistry, molecular biology and immunology. Pharmacognosy is the study of the physical, chemical, biochemical, and biological properties of drugs. Researchers across pharmacy colleges are working on these lines. There is also an increased interest among pharma companies and R&D centres to scout for such interdisciplinary expertise, he added.

For instance, the Pharm D programme introduced in India in 2008 is multidisciplinary providing knowledge support to patient care across doctors and nurses. Similarly, the interdisciplinary approach of pharmacology, pharmaceutical chemistry and pharmacognosy will only stand to benefit as it will advance medicine and medical care, he noted.

The pandemic phase saw the Covid vaccine development to come out from the University of Oxford and to be manufactured in India. We need to increase the research momentum in India across pharmacy colleges to become a hub for novel molecule development that can be patented and commercialised. This could transform the Indian drug and plant medicine research landscape, Dr Salahuddin told Pharmabiz.

There is an increased interest for people to lay their hands on natural therapies to enhance immunity and control health disorders. Here, the science of phyto-pharmaceutics will stand to gain, as advanced studies on pharmacology and pharmacognosy are underway. Of course, pharmaceutical chemistry is a tedious study as plant extracts need to be isolated,structural changes need to be made to be synthesised into a novel molecule. This will go in for animal studies to assess the therapeutic effect. Such studies are taking place across pharmacy colleges including Al-Ameen, he said.

India has a pool of pharmacy students and we need to mould them towards innovation in drug research. Our Universities lack dedicated research teams on similar lines that of the developed world where discovered drug molecules are patented for which a royalty is earned and reinvested for more innovation. In our country, professors have a dual role as they are engaged in teaching and research which leads to inadequate focus on the latter, he added.

However, of late, there is a visible transformation on the research landscape in India. Digital technologies like artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, machine learning and 3-D printing, to name only a few, will be introduced into the various aspects of drug discovery in Universities including pharmacy colleges. For instance, 3-D printing will give a better understanding of the consequences of the drugs administered into the human organs and pharmacologists will have a faster and better understanding of the adverse drug reactions, stated the Al-Ameen College of Pharmacy principal.

Therefore, interdisciplinary approach of pharmacology, pharmaceutical chemistry and pharmacognosy will boost the pace of drug discovery for personalised medicine, said Dr Salahuddin.


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