Massive molecules floating around under clear blue skies. This is what you see in the virtual world where scientists are trying to design the latest drugs with helps of VR tool like 4Sight VR. The chemists can actually grab on to the molecules floating in front of them. The hands are claw-like though and wield lightsabres. Still, this is as close as they can possibly get to molecules. This is how they can design the structure they want by actually rather virtually holding it.
C4XD which is a company into drug discovery developed their own tool 4Sight VR. They are into cancer and chronic addiction drugs. This tool helps their scientists visualize the actual structure of the drugs that they are inventing.
The biochemists at C4XD are actually using the virtual reality tool to come up with new drugs for diseases like Parkinson’s and dementia.The company has an exceptionally detailedproprietary database that they used to work on this. Also, they are working with Indivor, a pharmaceutical company, to develop something to counter addiction. The database records every minute detail of a molecule, its various formations and the frequency with which it takes those forms. In the past six months, the chemists have actively started making use of the VR tool.
One of their medicinal chemists said that working with VR was trans-formative. He could actually get into the world of molecules and manipulate them. Drug discovery has turned highly visual with 4Sight VR tool. Chemists are usually visual people and VR helps them greatly as they can actually see the molecules. Before VR, models of balls and sticks helped visualize the structure. But now they can do more with it. They can change and re-arrange the structure right in front of them. Comparing future drugs has become easier since they have started using 4Sight VR.
Using VR tool, the molecules become a part of your world. It is more than what you get when you watch TV. Watching TV doesn’t make you part of the world. But VR provides this. This is extremely useful in biomedicine. When they got the results of storing so much information with the molecules, they decided to take one step ahead and develop it in VR.
Molecules keep changing shape. In the drug discovery industry, there is a constant search for molecules that retain a shape as much as possible. While they change shape, some retain the desired shape more often than the others. This is what the biochemists look for and this is what they are looking to find.
The chief officer at C4XD explains further, a person has a lock inside the body which is protein and the drug targets this, drugs usually target one particular protein in the body. The chemist is trying to find the best key to bind that protein. The aim is to match the protein structure, look for keys that you know successfully bind to it. This is your starting point. This is the lock and key analogy.
Do let us know what you think of this article in comments below.