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Targeted Therapies to Reduce Side Effects in Modern Drug Development

Updated: Aug 12, 2022

December 2021 "Drug development is rarely trivial. In fact, it is often costly, frustrating, and tortuous—and more often than not it ends in failure. The sheer complexity of the cell and the astonishing diversity of diseases are just two reasons why researchers typically require years to uncover the mechanisms of disease before they can even dare to contemplate the development of therapeutic options and begin the long, arduous road to the clinic.

Drugs that do make it to clinical trials have major hurdles to clear—not the least of which is safety testing. It is necessary for drugs to evaluated for potential toxicities and side effects, and these key factors must be deemed tolerable before investigators can assess drug potency. For example, chemotherapy, a powerful standard approach to kill fast-growing cancer cells, has the drawback of causing damage to healthy cells in the process, leading to side effects that can include pain, nausea, and hair loss.

Nevertheless, researchers have a host of new technologies at their disposal to develop targeted therapies that minimize side effects. Modern drug development approaches include a range of techniques leveraging structural biology, immunology, cell signaling, and more to address the challenge. As this article shows, progress is being made on multiple fronts."

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