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 Table of Contents    
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 51  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 85-87

Pattern of pharmacological research from the last six decades

Department of Pharmacology, PGIMER, Chandigarh, India

Date of Submission29-Apr-2019
Date of Acceptance29-Apr-2019
Date of Web Publication15-May-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Bikash Medhi
Department of Pharmacology, PGIMER, Chandigarh - 160 012
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijp.IJP_264_19

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How to cite this article:
Joshi R, Mahendiratta S, Prakash A, Medhi B. Pattern of pharmacological research from the last six decades. Indian J Pharmacol 2019;51:85-7

How to cite this URL:
Joshi R, Mahendiratta S, Prakash A, Medhi B. Pattern of pharmacological research from the last six decades. Indian J Pharmacol [serial online] 2019 [cited 2023 Sep 27];51:85-7. Available from: https://www.ijp-online.com/text.asp?2019/51/2/85/258243

Despite belonging to a developing country, Indian Pharmacologists are trying very hard in research by contributing to the globe and competing with the pace of the global pharmacological research. The pace of Pharmacological Research from India had drastically improved to such an extent that it impacts the Global Research Patterns in Pharmacology. The Indian Pharmacologists had played a tremendous role in the development of pharmacological research all over the world. The overview of the pattern of pharmacological research from the last six decades will help in understanding the progress and trends of establishment of new concepts in pharmacological research in India. It will also help young pharmacologists to chirp in historical encroachment of pharmacology. The overview of the pharmacological research in last six decades is summarized in [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Brief summary of pharmacological research patterns in the last six decades

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Starting from 1960 to 1970, the research mainly focuses on the role of prostaglandins in various diseases. It was exploited like a culprit in the pathogenesis of various diseases. A Noble Prize in Physiology or Medicine was also awarded for discovering prostaglandins and its related biologically active substances to Bergstrom, Samuelsson, and Vane in 1982. However, in 1969, Vane found that the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect of aspirin is through the inhibition of specific prostaglandins.[1] Then, numerous molecules/drugs, either their agonists or antagonists, had come to the pipeline for targeting the treatment of various diseases. Their role in inflammation, cardiovascular, central nervous, and gastrointestinal disorders, migraine, bronchial, etc., was studied to a great extent, and various drugs also came to the market.[2]

The epoch of end nucleases from 1970 to 1980 was remarkable in the history of recombinant DNA technology. The pharmacologists have applied this technology to alter the genes responsible for a particular disease or adverse effects. Various treatment options had been developed by utilizing this revolutionary change of recombinant DNA technology in the medicine world of health-care settings, for example, human insulin, monoclonal antibodies, and vaccines. It also helped in diagnosis of several other diseases.[3]

In the period of 1980–1990, the role of nitric oxide (NO) became the most vulnerable topic of the decade. The dual role of NO needed an extensive research to reach any conclusion of its role in pathophysiology of various diseases. The drugs acting through this pathway were studied by using NO precursors and NO synthase inhibitors along with the targeted drugs/molecules. The downstream signaling pathways of NO were also studied by targeting different steps involved in its role. The newer role of the already known drugs acting through this pathway was also studied such as sodium nitroprusside and minoxidil.[4]

The research in the decade from 1990 to 2000 mainly focuses on new technology of reformulation of the previously marketed drugs, i.e., nanoparticles. It was marked with the evolution of a new era of Nanopharmacology. Huge number of patents were filed by the pharmacologists for making new nanoformulation of their drugs which will help in improving their efficacy and reducing their adverse effects. Moreover, it was followed by advanced nanotechnology in the next decade. The highly targeted delivery was claimed by the researchers to achieve maximum efficacy. The pharmacologists in collaboration with biotechnologists also employed gene therapy in nanotechnology.[5]

The research in nanotechnology went to the decade of 2000–2010 with more advancement in gene therapy followed by stem cell therapy. The role of pharmacogenomics and proteomics also gets involved in drug designing and helping more improvement in diagnosing and treatment of the disease. The importance of the stem cells in the treatment of various vulnerable and noncurable diseases such as cancer had made a tremendous breakout in the field of health sciences. Government also started participating in establishing new stem cell centers across the country. Unfortunately, still, this area is growing with newer concepts to get a fruitful result in the health-care system.[6]

Following 2010 onward, the era of pharmacogenomics had grown to the most specific area, i.e., personalized medicine and precision medicine. Pharmacogenomics is playing a great role in the field of personalized medicines. Although the developed countries like USA have started employing the concept of personalized medicine in their health-care system, India is also not so much behind them and has also started following the personalized medicine. India is at very early step of utilizing personalized medicine in their health-care system, but it is growing rapidly by emphasizing more on preventing toxicological effects of drugs as well as in diagnostic criteria of various diseases. Mainly, it focuses on individual genetic makeup for the perception of the disease as well as its treatment. The designing of the treatment on the basis of genetic susceptibility of individual patients will help in early diagnosis, effectiveness, prevention of side effects, and reducing cost of the treatment as well.[7],[8]

India being famous for “Unity in Diversity” has around 4000 population groups and is very much vulnerable to inherited genetic disorders. Personalized medicine is also confused with the term of precision medicine which mainly emphasizes on confirming the root cause of a disease and also covers the individual genetic variability in relation to their life style and environment. Physicians in India had started relying on personalized medicines by opting for genetic sequencing testing for some of the diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular, obesity, and diabetes. Various genetic testing laboratories have also been established in the private sector. The government has also initiated funding research in pharmacogenomics, and regulatory authorities have also started making rules and regulations in establishing and monitoring area of personalized medicine. The patients can also be treated on the basis of their preferences to particular foods or dietary habits, and thus, the conception of nutrigenomics comes to the health-care system. Gene editing by CRISPR has also being used as a collaborative approach with biotechnologists to target various genetic disorders as well in preventing untoward adverse effects of the available treatments.[9]

Recently, the purpose of immunotherapy in the health-care scenario has also come into the frame of pharmacological research. This era of immunotherapy is at its zenith nowadays. The research in this area is proving to be a potential therapy against various deadly diseases such as cancer. Many of the renowned scientists across the globe are engaged in exploring the human immune system to target various diseases. Hence, the journal Science in 2013 also named it as “Breakthrough of the Year.” The Nobel Prize of 2018 in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Dr. James P. Allison and Dr. Tasuku Honjo for their excellent contribution in cancer therapy involving the role of CTLA-4 in tumor cells. Keytruda (Pembrolizumab) has become the first approved cancer treatment based on the genetic marker against the particular site of tumour origin.[10]

The research of immunotherapy was followed by chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy which was directed initially only against leukemias and not the solid tumors. Recently, new antigen has been discovered B7-H3 present on the surface of the solid tumors, making it easily recognizable by the immune system. This therapy is in its experimental stages causing the suppression of pancreatic and ovarian tumors.[11]

With the changing life style of the people, they are becoming susceptible to various vulnerable diseases. The complexity of their pathophysiology and treatment resistance imposes a great threat to our health-care system. Thus, research in the field of pharmacology is picking a pace to develop newer strategies for diagnosis, prevention, and therapeutic treatment of the diseases in human health and benefiting the society.

  References Top

Vane JR. The release and fate of vaso-active hormones in the circulation. Br J Pharmacol 1969;35:209-42.  Back to cited text no. 1
Williams TJ. The role of prostaglandins in inflammation. Ann R Coll Surg Engl 1978;60:198-201.  Back to cited text no. 2
Bruno F, Maggi A. Impact of recombinant DNA technology in pharmacology. Pharmacol Res Commun 1985;17:109-21.  Back to cited text no. 3
Spinas GA. The dual role of nitric oxide in islet beta-cells. News Physiol Sci 1999;14:49-54.  Back to cited text no. 4
Swetha KL, Roy A. Tumor heterogeneity and nanoparticle-mediated tumor targeting: The importance of delivery system personalization. Drug Deliv Transl Res 2018;8:1508-26.  Back to cited text no. 5
Soni A, Gowthamarajan K, Radhakrishnan A. Personalized medicine and customized drug delivery systems: The new trend of drug delivery and disease management. Int J Pharm Compd 2018;22:108-21.  Back to cited text no. 6
Khan S, Mandal RK, Elasbali AM, Dar SA, Jawed A, Wahid M, et al. Pharmacogenetic association between NAT2 gene polymorphisms and isoniazid induced hepatotoxicity: Trial sequence meta-analysis as evidence. Biosci Rep 2019;39. pii: BSR20180845.  Back to cited text no. 7
Jithesh PV, Scaria V. From genomes to genomic medicine: Enabling personalized and precision medicine in the Middle East. Per Med 2017;14:377-82.  Back to cited text no. 8
Nair S, Kong AT. Emerging roles for clinical pharmacometrics in cancer precision medicine. Curr Pharmacol Rep 2018;4:276-83.  Back to cited text no. 9
Wraith DC. The future of immunotherapy: A 20-year perspective. Front Immunol 2017;8:1668.  Back to cited text no. 10
Castellanos JR, Purvis IJ, Labak CM, Guda MR, Tsung AJ, Velpula KK. B7-H3 role in the immune landscape of cancer. Am J Clin Exp Immunol 2017;6:66-75.  Back to cited text no. 11


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