Back to Teaching Rota
KS4 Drug Development
3.1.9 Discovery and development of drugs
- Know that traditionally drugs were extracted from plants and microorganisms, including:
- The heart drug digitalis originates from foxgloves.
- The painkiller aspirin originates from willow.
- Penicillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming from the Penicillium mould.
- Know that most new drugs are synthesised by chemists in the pharmaceutical industry, but that the starting point may still be a chemical extracted from a plant.
- Know that new medical drugs have to be tested and trialled before being used to check that they are safe and effective.
- Know that new drugs are extensively tested for toxicity, efficacy and dose.
- Know that preclinical testing is done in a laboratory using cells, tissues and live animals. Then clinical trials use healthy volunteers and patients.
- Know that very low doses of the drug are given at the start of the clinical trial and then if the drug is found to be safe, further clinical trials are carried out to find the optimum dose for the drug.
- Know that in double blind trials, some patients are given a placebo, which does not contain the drug and that patients are allocated randomly to groups so that neither the doctors nor the patients know who has received a placebo and who has received the drug until the trial is complete.
- Understand that the results of testing and trials are published only after scrutiny by peer review which helps to prevent false claims.
3.2.1 Producing monoclonal antibodies. Higher Tier only.
- Know that monoclonal antibodies are produced from a single clone of cells.
- Know that the monoclonal antibodies are specific to one binding site on one protein antigen and so are able to target a specific chemical or specific cells in the body.
- Know that monoclonal antibodies are produced by stimulating mouse lymphocytes to make a particular antibody. The lymphocytes are combined with a particular kind of tumour cell to make a cell called a hybridoma cell. The hybridoma cell can both divide and make the antibody. Single hybridoma cells are cloned to produce many identical cells that all produce the same antibody. A large amount of the antibody can be collected and purified.
3.2.2 Using monoclonal antibodies: details on applications of monoclonal antibodies for: diagnosis; identification of molecules; and treatment of diseases. Higher Tier only.
NB: Students are not expected to recall any specific tests or treatments but given appropriate information they should be able to explain how they work.
- Know that monoclonal antibodies are used for diagnosis. Eg in pregnancy tests a monoclonal antibody binds to the hormone HCG found in the urine during early pregnancy.
- Know that monoclonal antibodies are used in laboratories to measure the levels of hormones and other chemicals in blood, or to detect pathogens.
- Know that monoclonal antibodies are used in research to locate or identify specific molecules in a cell or tissue by binding to them with a fluorescent dye.
- Know that monoclonal antibodies are used to treat some diseases: for cancer the monoclonal antibody can be bound to a radioactive substance, a toxic drug or a chemical which stops cells growing and dividing. It delivers the substance to the cancer cells without harming other cells in the body.
- Know that monoclonal antibodies create more side effects than expected and as a result they are not yet as widely used as everyone hoped when they were first developed.
- Be able to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of monoclonal antibodies.
- Appreciate the power of monoclonal antibodies and consider any ethical issues.
Back to Teaching Rota