The molecular structure of a compound is a key component of its therapeutic potential. The relationship between the molecular structure of a compound and its pharmacological activity is referred to as the structure-activity relationship (SAR).
In order to find a compound with the desired characteristics, medicinal chemists will synthesize as many analogs of the lead compound as they can in order to determine the effect of its molecular structure on its activity, potency, and therapeutic index. The therapeutic index is a measure of the safety of a drug versus its effectiveness in treating a particular disease or condition. A compound with a low therapeutic index might be acceptable for a lethal disease where no cure exists, but it is unacceptable for milder conditions, where other therapies already exist. Various methodologies may be applied to modify the molecular structures of these compounds in order to improve upon their therapeutic effects. Combinatorial chemistry and pharmacokinetic modifications are two of the common techniques utilized by researchers.
Was this article helpful?