University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


Programme predicts the effects of medicine

Danish scientists have developed a computer programme which predicts how drugs are absorbed in the body

Scientists at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen have created software, which accurately demonstrates how medication is broken down in the human body.

This can be used to predict the effects different types and different amounts of pharmaceutical drugs will have on our systems, writes Stine Rasmussen on the faculty website.

Side effects and poisoning

US research has shown that round about 100,000 US citizens die every year from medicine related side effects. Studies across Europe have shown that tendencies are much the same here.

»When you take medication, the effectual matter is broken down into metabolites, that in some cases can lead to side effects and in the worst case scenario fatal poisoning,« post doc Patrik Rydberg from the Department of Medicinal Chemistry explains.

»For that reason, it’s important to be able to predict how any given medication is broken down,« he says.

Tweaking the molecule

The family of enzymes called Cytocrom-P450 are crucial for our metabolism, and these enzymes break down 90 per cent of all medication. The computer programme can predict the metabolism of medication by Cytocrom-P450.

»You don’t need anything other than a two-dimensional figure of the medication you want to investigate. Running it through the SMARTCyp-programme, it takes less than a second to predict the most likely breakdown of the medication in the human body,« says Patrik Rydberg.

»This makes it possible to adjust the molecule to suit your needs – remove a carbon dioxide atom here, add a hydrogen bond there«.

Critical point

The amount of medication in the blood is vital. Too little, and the medication won’t work; too much, and you’ll get the side effects, he explains.

The computer programme can be a useful tool in working out the exact required amount.