In DepthChemistry

Molecular CT scan could speed drug discovery

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Science  26 Oct 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6413, pp. 389
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6413.389

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Chemists have long been able to use a pair of different techniques to determine the structure of small organic molecules, such as vitamins and pharmaceuticals. Last week, two research teams reported they've adapted a third technique, known as electron diffraction, to determine the precise shape of such compounds. The new technique works with vanishingly small samples, is blazing fast, and is surprisingly easy. That could help it revolutionize fields both inside and outside of research. In just one example, pharmaceutical companies build massive libraries of crystalline compounds they want to study. But the crystals for many of these compounds are too small to enable them to determine molecular structures using conventional techniques. The new electron diffraction approach should enable them to get those structures quickly and easily, speeding up the discovery of new drugs.