Researchers in the field of pharmacology investigate the interaction of drugs and chemicals in the body and the role they play in the treatment and prevention of diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, kidney failure and respiratory diseases. For example, lipid-lowering drugs are used to treat hypertension to minimise the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Studying new drugs involves:

  • investigating the pharmacodynamics or intensity of the drug effect, i.e. what the drug does to the body
  • taking into account the pharmacokinetics i.e. absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of the drug, which determines where it is administered, the amount and frequency of each dose and the dosing intervals.

Creating innovative drug treatments

Exploring inflammatory pathways leading to disease, investigating molecular and cellular mechanisms and how cells communicate can all lead to the creation and development of new drugs. Natural compounds such as venom from snakes and spiders are inspiring the next generation of drug discovery.

Funnel-web venom may have potential as a treatment for stroke and epilepsy, while compounds from other venoms can be used as diagnostic tools to highlight tumours in breast and colon cancer. Stem cells can be used as screening tools to determine the toxicity of drugs and stem-cell based treatments can potentially be translated as therapies in the clinic.

Image caption: Scientists are always working to create better drug treatments.

Image credit: Bigstock

The institutes listed below are currently researching Pharmacology, and more information about their discoveries can be found by visiting their websites.
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