Mollusks point way toward better drugs

12:09pm, September 23, 2003

From New York City, at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society

Although a drug's set chemical structure determines its mechanism of action, its larger crystal structure can change in ways that determine how well the drug dissolves in the gut and how long it will last on the shelf. Adam Matzger of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor has developed an efficient way to create various crystal structures, known as polymorphs.

When growing polymorphs in the lab, researchers either vary the amount of solvent in a solution of the drug that is undergoing crystallization or tweak the solution's temperature. But how the crystals form different shapes is a mystery, and repeating a crystallization process doesn't always produce the same polymorph.

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