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All Things HIT

May 8 2012   9:43AM GMT

A different shade of health IT

Posted by: AllinHIT
SBD, Structured-Based Design

When I first started writing my blog a couple years ago, I knew I would write about “All Things HIT”, hence the origin of the name. However, I really didn’t think about, nor expect, the wide scope of technological advancements, and its effect on healthcare. This blog feature is the epitome of my ignorance.

I was fascinated recently by a Wall Street article on April 16 ( yes, I’m a couple weeks behind my reading due to my Epic training), entitled Drug Discovery Gets an Upgrade.  Without getting too clinical, the article describes the art of structured-based design (SBD) — a method of using computers in tailoring existing drug molecules.

SBD is able to create custom compounds from existing drugs, allowing the new derivative to attack disease-causing proteins.  The computer is basically able to analyze drug molecules (even drugs that were not FDA approved) and determine if those molecules could bind and fit the “lock” to a particular disease.  Without very powerful computers analyzing the data, this would be impossible.

Now, all the pharmaceutical companies are using SBD to find cures and treatments to diseases. It was utilized by Pfizer to create Xalkori, a therapy to fight a rare and intractable form of lung cancer.  Eli Lilly & Company used it to create an antibiotic for Alzheimer’s disease, which is in its mid-stage trails.  Sanofi used it to create a new blood thinner and its in the final stages of development.

I profess, I don’t know all the ins and outs of the structural-based design.  However, I find the various shades of health IT fascinating because each shade profoundly effects healthcare.  EHRs, HIEs, telehealth, CDSS, eRx, IBM’s Watson, and now, structural-based design.  Shades of health IT are giving me an optimistic view of healthcare’s future!

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