Laughing Gas, Viagra, and Lipitor: The Human Stories behind the Drugs We Use

Laughing Gas, Viagra, and Lipitor: The Human Stories behind the Drugs We Use

Laughing Gas, Viagra, and Lipitor: The Human Stories behind the Drugs We Use

Laughing Gas, Viagra, and Lipitor: The Human Stories behind the Drugs We Use

Synopsis

The stories behind drug discovery are fascinating, full of human and scientific interest. This is a book on the history of drug discovery that highlights the intellectual splendor of discoverers as well as the human frailty associated them. History is replete with examples of breakthrough medicines that have saved millions of lives. Ether as an anesthetic by Morton; penicillin as an antibiotic by Fleming; and insulin as an anti-diabetic by Banting are just a few examples. The discoverers of these medicines are doubtlessly benefactors to mankind--for instance, without penicillin, 75% of us probably would not be alive because some of our parents or grandparents would have succumbed to infections.

Dr. Jack Li, a medicinal chemist who is intimately involved with drug discovery, has assembled an astounding amount of facts and information behind important drugs through extensive literature research and interviews with many inventors of the drugs including Viagra and Lipitor. There have been many myths and inaccuracies associated with those legendary drugs. The inventors perspectives afforded this book an invaluable accuracy and insight because history is not history unless it is true.

The text is supplemented by many anecdotes, pictures and postage stamps. Both specialist and layman will find Laughing Gas, Viagra, and Lipitor informative and entertaining. Students in chemistry, pharmacy, and medicine, workers in healthcare and high school science teachers will find this book most useful.

Excerpt

Any person interested in understanding the history of medical progress and the way in which many of the most important medicines came into existence will be well rewarded by reading this latest book by Jie Jack Li, one of the most prolific and interesting authors in the field of molecular medicine and chemistry. And if that person happened to be aiming for or beginning a career in medicinal discovery, he or she would gain even more by so doing. The many case histories within this book contain a large number of valuable take-home lessons and extraordinary insights that have emerged from a spectrum of research over many years in medicinal science, or what can now be called molecular medicine. These stories reveal not only the complexity, unpredictability, and challenges of the discovery process but also the intellectual and human qualities upon which success depended. I found this to be a most inspiring, engaging, and broadening reading experience, and I cannot imagine that this sense of reward would not be shared by most individuals who want to know more about health sciences, creativity, discovery, and just plain luck (good and bad).

It is unimaginably difficult (and now very costly) to discover an important new therapeutic agent. Most people who have engaged in this effort for a lifetime have not been so fortunate. It is not easy to select a research objective that will turn out to be a winner. The enormous complexity of the human body (especially in molecular terms), the depth of our ignorance in the molecular and biological sciences, and the lack of more powerful and yet to be discovered scientific research tools all conspire, like the fog of war, to obscure our vision in the search for a great new discovery. So one needs not only keen intellect and extraordinary personal qualities to be successful but also as much perspective, perception, and intuition as one can muster. This book provides a clear picture of these human elements behind success. As a bonus, it is also entertaining and enjoyable to read.

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