Diarrhea, Bleeding of the Retina, and Death

Those are just a few of the lovely side effects a recent drug commercial spokesperson warned me about in their calm, trust worthy voice. I mean, I’ve never bled out of my retina, so I can’t truly make a value judgment on how bad that really is, but I would say death is a pretty terrible side effect. I will not be taking that drug, or really any other traditional prescription “active” site medications. Luckily, I don’t have to. But a new class of drugs that are either already on the market or in testing show promise to not only more effectively regulate cell behavior, but also get rid of projectile vomiting, whole-body rashes, and the other slew of symptoms we might face while pill popping.

These drugs are called allosterics and they show huge promise. Their big achievement is that they attach to usually untouched areas of a cell , not the traditional “active” site medications that push their way into the binding pocket, thus setting off receptors that either significantly ramp up the cell’s activity or turn it off. You can see how this can cause trouble in a multi-purpose cell. A site that is occupied by a molecule cannot receive information from other molecules to tweak its other functions. Thus the itching, and the fever, and the blood clots. Allosteric drugs target different part of the cell, smaller pockets so to speak, and only bind to the ones that they match with. Any sites that don’t match the medicines charge stay empty, especially when they don’t need them, allowing for our bodies to continue working as they must. The other big thing is that the allosterics only slightly ramp up or ramp down the intended activity, much like our own bodies would. Our own internal dimmer switch. In fact, most times, such a small tweak is all that is needed for relief to come.

It is essentially the difference between having only first and 5th gears on a manual transition car for the regular drugs, and all the other gears for the allosterics. Moving from 3rd to 2nd, or to 4th is far more effective not only as a driver, but for our cell function as well. Being able to drive only in first gear is pretty much a nightmare, horrible for your car, and yes, you will be honked at.

An example of an allosteric drug is Valium. It’s targeted pain treatment, which means it only does it’s job when the cell signals it needs relief. Even if you took too many, you would simply be able to sleep off it’s effects instead of over-dosing. So as much as people complain about pharmaceutical companies being greedy and creating dangerous drugs, it looks like their drive for profits is actually going to help more than hurt eventually. They are hard at work developing and testing new allosteric drugs for AIDS treatment, Alzheimers, Diabetes and a slew of other chronic ailments that left patients with the choice of the side effects of the disease or the side effects of the drug.

Soon, explosive diarrhea, flaky skin, and rotting teeth are not going to be the trade-off for handling what’s ailing us. Now that’s what I call progress.


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Filed under Not-So-Guilty Pleasures

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