Evolution of Therapeutics

Pavan Malhotra, O. P. Gupta, Geetika Gupta

Abstract: The development of therapeutics is the result of an evolution process inherently in motion right from early time. Starting with plants, minerals and metals in crude form, the process of evolution led to ever improving innovations such as development of traditional remedies, isolation and elucidation of active constituents, modification of structure or molecular modeling for better efficacy, reduced toxicity and specificity of action, rational drug design by targeting cellular, sub-cellular receptors and enzymes and latest we have therapeutics resulting out of combinatorial chemistry, synthetic oligonucleotides through DNA technology and polymerase chain reaction. While any agent thought to be of medicinal value was tried directly on ailing human beings, pre-clinical testing on laboratory animals started with the start of scientific era and ever improving advances have been made both at preclinical and clinical levels for evaluation of new drug molecules. Recent advances in therapeutics are in the areas of gene therapy, stem cell and nanomedicine. As the society advances, requirement for effective and safe therapeutics rises. Government’s awareness of effective and safe therapeutics as a social need and big financial gain which a pharmaceutical company makes with the introduction of new drugs are the motivating factors contributing to keeping the process of evolution of therapeutics in motion.
The process of evolution for therapeutic remedies started right from the time of early man. On falling ill, the only course of remedial measure he could think of was to try flora and fauna growing around him. Through hit and trial method, plants of medicinal values came to be recognized. This knowledge accumulated, got compiled under different treatises and practiced under different systems of medicine. With the start of scientific era, scientific knowledge gained came to be applied on medicinal plants for the isolation of active constituents, their structure elucidation & formulations. As a result, about 120 drugs derived from 90 medicinal plants have come to us from plant source. With the advances made in science & simultaneously in technologies, process of generation of semi-synthetic and synthetic drugs started. From mid of 20th century, this process got accelerated due to financial motivation which the marketing of a new drug provided and due to national governments coming forward to support medical research for development of effective remedies as a social need. Further, as the societies grew affluent over the period, the need for more and more effective and safe remedies grew providing impetus for developing new innovative approaches in the process of finding new remedies. Thus the evolutionary process of developing the therapeutics continues to be in motion as an all time process. Presented below is a short review of this process.

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