The Medicinal Chemistry Laboratory was founded in 1998. New medicines are launched in the Medicinal Chemistry Laboratory including those to treat cocaine dependency, Parkinson’s disease, and other conditions. In addition, we create imaging compounds for brain scans — techniques that are rapidly expanding the reach of medical and scientific research.
Cocaine releases dopamine, a “feel good” brain chemical. Blocking the release of dopamine potentially reduces drug cravings.
Parkinson’s disease is caused by a deficiency of dopamine. Our scientists are working to develop effective oral medications that act like dopamine yet do not have serious side effects. Our template for drug design is apomorphine (a molecule synthesized from morphine), which incorporates dopamine in its structure.
By “labeling” apomorphine and analogues with radioisotopes that are visible in brain images, we help clinicians diagnose certain conditions earlier and monitor the effectiveness of treatments.