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Blog Housekeeping


Posting will be irregular around here the next few days, because of some travel. I’ll be around, but I can’t guarantee new content every working day for a bit. . .

33 comments on “Travel”

  1. a says:

    Mod is gone!

    Post texas carbons!

    1. Uncle Al says:

      George Olah made (CH5)^+; methane in Magic Acid at 140 °C.
      DOI: 10.1021/ja01012a066 (1968)

  2. Mark Thorson says:

    Okay, here’s some pharma riddles:

    Riddle #1: I’m the only pharmaceutical in the PDR which is identified by lot number. All of the dosage forms produced in more than 50 years has an active agent that comes from a single production lot.

    Riddle #2: I’ve been described as the first blockbuster drug. I was the first effective treatment for a much-feared communicable disease. For nearly 40 years, I was the only treatment, until antibiotics came along.

    Riddle #3: I’m one of the smallest small-molecule drugs. I was discovered as the result of a screwball experiment inspired by the resemblance of the mitotic spindle to the flux lines around a magnet. Fortunately, serious scientists investigated why I worked and figured it out. Nothing to do with magnets.

    Riddle #4: I’m one of the smallest small-molecule drugs. I was used in the 1870’s at dosages like those used today. I fell out of use in the early 20th century, but in the 1940’s interest was rekindled, and I was restored to practice and continue to be used today.

    1. gippgig says:

      All guesses…
      #1 – Botox?
      #3 – cisplatin?
      #4 – aspirin?

      1. Mark Thorson says:

        You got cisplatin right. What a weird history. It was platinum from the platinum electrodes which got into the electrolytic solution and made several species of active cell division inhibitors. Cisplatin was the most effective they discovered at that time, and it remains an important cancer chemotherapy drug.

    2. AVS-600 says:

      Is #4 nitrous oxide?

      1. Mark Thorson says:


    3. paperclip says:

      #4: lithium?

      1. Mark Thorson says:

        Yes. The famous neurologist S. Weir-Mitchell described using lithium salts in the 1870’s. Not very safe in those days because you have to control the dose carefully. I think it can cause kidney damage if you use it open-loop.

    4. Design Monkey says:

      #2 – salvarsan.

    5. Ursa Major says:

      #4 – Smallpox vaccine?

      1. Ursa Major says:

        sorry, I meant #1

        1. Curious says:

          I am wondering if smallpox vaccine in right for #1 too. Definitely isn’t botox which was the other suggestion- I know that has come from multiple lots. Guessed #2-4, but 1 is trickier. Thinking it makes sense to be something biological….

          1. Ursa Major says:

            It has to be something with a very low demand and restricted supply (either for technical or legal reasons). The way it is phrased suggests something bigger in the past and kept for emergencies. So I first thought of something nuclear, but there are plenty of sources for them and most half-lives are too short for a lot to last 50 years. Then I wondered about drugs of abuse (e.g. barbiturates) or an old-school brute-force drug of last resort, but small molecules are easy to synthesise so unlikely to be restricted to a single lot. The Botox suggestion made me think of something biological and since there weren’t many bio-based treatments that long ago we’re left with vaccines. What I know about smallpox fits my deduced criteria.

    6. Crocodile Chuck says:

      2) sulfonamide?

    7. Robin says:

      You can’t leave us unfulfilled Mark. What’s the answer to the first question? 😉

  3. Karl says:

    #2 I’m guessing arsphenamine (Salvarsan). I don’ t have guesses for the rest, but then I’m not in pharma…

    1. Mark Thorson says:

      Yes, Salvarsan and its successor Neosalvarsan. Who knows? If multidrug resistance becomes a worse problem, we may see a return of the arsenicals. We should keep it in the back of our mind.

      1. drsnowboard says:

        more likely in your hair and nails ….

      2. loupgarous says:

        Arsenicin A, a naturally-occurring adamantane-like compound with arsenic at each of the methanetriyl positions and which is being studied for its activity against promelocytic leukemia cells at lower concentrations than arsenic trioxide (at present part of a combination treatment for acute promyelocytic leukemia, along with all-trans retinoic acid) could point the way for new arsenicals with new indications. Synthesis of several variants of Arsenicin A has been reported New

  4. Sodium Acetate boyz says:

    It’s a little early still, but Nobel prize predictions??

    1. Charles Williams Thomas says:

      Yes back up sodium acetate!

  5. An Old Chemist says:

    Sodium Acetate Boyz: Pulitzer Prize for Derek Lowe for being the pioneer blogger about drug discovery related insights, from inside the pharmaceutical industry!

  6. AlloG says:

    So now dat my main man isn’t around- Hows does da Oganic chemistry brothers (and sisters to) feel about my Rainbow friends calling me cis-gender? Now trans has been stolen and that’s OK as to each them own.

    Soon homies be talking street about Sn2 and backside attack!

    You wont have any words left if this keeps up.

    1. Ursa Major says:

      If various categories or classes have been identified then it is important for them all to have labels so they can be talked about easily and without any ambiguity – leaving one category as a null unlabelled group is not particularly useful. Adapting terminology by analogy from another field is a pretty standard way of making new words, and the cis/trans dichotomy has a pretty good pedigree going back to at least Cis- and Transalpine Gaul. Fortunately language isn’t finitely limited so all the words are still available if we need them.

      1. AlloG says:

        So dat means next time a batch of Disco Biscuits goes bad cause me side-kick forgot to distill the hexane I can say it went Queer? Not like its supposed ta?
        Dats good bacuase my kick’s brain is all Swiss dese days from solvents and he likes words he can remember.

        1. Spider says:

          Omg try harder! I’m cringing so hard for you right now.

          1. AlloG says:


  7. Lustig says:

    This is a bit random but I want to read up on Diabetes (type 2) can you point me in the direction of a book or paper to start with? My mother got diagnosed with it and I would like some reliable information that goes beyond the usual, half informed stuff.

  8. An Old Chemist says:

    Lustig, I suggest that you start your search from the Wikipedia entry for ‘Diabetes-type 2’ and then keep clicking on the URLs (aka surfing the web):

    1. tlp says:

      That’s a recipe for getting lost in details pretty quickly. I’d go to reddit for recommendation on a book (e.g. link in handle)

  9. Scott says:

    Make sure to max out your per-diem and expense-report items, Derek!

Comments are closed.