University of Warwick Chemist Dr Andrew Clark has devised a method of creating medically useful linked rings of atoms that do not rely on the toxic, expensive, environmentally unfriendly methods used until now.
A large number of biologically and or medicinally active chemicals (e.g drugs and naturally occurring biological molecules) contain rings of atoms linked together. If we wish to treat diseases by the discovery of new drugs or design new "smart" materials it is of vital importance that chemists can construct these rings of atoms efficiently. One approach to making rings is that of stitching two ends of a chain of atoms together via a reactive molecule called a "free radical". Virtually all free radical reactions use other chemicals to "initiate" the construction process. Most procedures use one initiator in particular, called "tributyl tin hydride", however it has the following disadvantages:
Andrew Clark and his fellow researchers have developed
an alternative chemical based upon copper to control and
initiate the stitching process. The new mediator is very cheap
(900 times less expensive). It is just as efficient as the old
initiator, even when the team use ten times less. The new
chemical is also a catalyst which means that it is not destroyed
in the stitching process. The catalyst can be easily recovered
from the reaction and it can be re-used again in other reactions.
Consequently, as a bonus there are no toxic residues to dispose
of. The team will
Contact: Dr Andrew Clark
+44 1203 523242
University of Warwick