After more than fifty years of blockbuster drug development, skeptics are beginning to fear we are reaching the end of drug discovery to combat major diseases. In this engaging book, Brent R. Stockwell, a leading researcher in the exciting new science of chemical biology, describes this dilemma and the powerful techniques that may bring drug research into the twenty-first century.
Filled with absorbing stories of breakthroughs, this book begins with the scientific achievements of the twentieth century that led to today's drug innovations. We learn how the invention of mustard gas in World War I led to early anti-cancer agents and how the efforts to decode the human genome might lead to new approaches in drug design. Stockwell then turns to the seemingly incurable diseases we face today, such as Alzheimer's, many cancers, and others with no truly effective medicines, and details the cellular and molecular barriers thwarting scientists equipped with only the tools of traditional pharmaceutical research.
Scientists such as Stockwell are now developing methods to combat these complexities—technologies for constructing and testing millions of drug candidates, sophisticated computational modeling, and entirely new classes of drug molecules—all with an eye toward solving the most profound mysteries of living systems and finding cures for intractable diseases. If successful, these methods will unlock a vast terrain of untapped drug targets that could lead to a bounty of breakthrough medicines. Offering a rare, behind-the-scenes look at this cutting-edge research, The Quest for the Cure tells a thrilling story of science, persistence, and the quest to develop a new generation of cures.
--- from the publisher
"This is a terrific book! Stockwell's writing is clear and engaging as he presents a thoughtful analysis of drug development that can be understood and appreciated by a diverse readership. Stockwell beautifully combines scientific history and personal anecdotes with clear explanations of the principles and practices of chemical biology to make a fascinating story of the past, present, and future of drug discovery. His book is informative, accurate, and a good read all put together." — Geoffrey Cooper, Boston University, author of The Cell: A Molecular Approach and Oncogenes
"The dearth of promising new treatments for many a serious disease remains a major challenge not just for the pharmaceutical industry but for all of society. In this exhaustively researched book, Brent R. Stockwell surveys the history of drug development and offers insightful suggestions for innovative new approaches. This is critical reading for the many involved in and concerned about this urgent issue." — Robert Bazell, chief science correspondent, NBC News, and author of Her-2: The Making of Herceptin, a Revolutionary Treatment for Breast Cancer
"This is a truly wonderful book. Stockwell's writing will open the door to a universe that many readers may know little about. Drugs are born, biotech companies are created, scientists' careers are made and unmade, egos are raised and dashed. This book is so readable, it is an absolute page-turner. Yet it is also authoritative and scientifically sophisticated, managing to distill a complex, changing field into a beautifully written, well-crafted story." — Siddhartha Mukherjee, Columbia University, author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
"By providing accessible explanations for the underlying biological and chemical principles that apply to the complex solutions he describes, Stockwell enables even the scientifically unsophisticaed reader to gain a wider perspective on what future disease treatment might entail." — Publishers Weekly
"This very readable, even exciting work takes us through the medical breakthroughs of the past century..." — Globe and Mail
"This book deserves a readership, and there is certainly a need for it. As a drug company
researcher, I have often wished that more people understood what the field was like
and how simultaneously fascinating and frustrating it can be." — Cell
"In this well-researched look into the complexities of making medicines, a chemical biologist gives a history of drug making an details innovative methods of drug discovery." — Science News
About the Author:
Brent R. Stockwell is an associate professor of biological sciences and chemistry at Columbia University and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Early Career Scientist. He serves on the editorial board of Chemistry & Biology, has been awarded ten U.S. patents, and has published fifty-four scientific papers. Among his recent honors are a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface and a Beckman Young Investigator Award.