• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Looking Into The Future
    Drab bag 3.1416 on What fresh Hell?
    Gabbard2020 on What fresh Hell?
    ghost2 on Looking Into The Future
    pm317 on Papa Bear on his way out? 
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Papa Bear on his way out? 
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Go outside, BiFF
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Go outside, BiFF
    pm317 on Papa Bear on his way out? 
    pm317 on Go outside, BiFF
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Go outside, BiFF
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Papa Bear on his way out? 
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Papa Bear on his way out? 
    riverdaughter on Go outside, BiFF
    pm317 on Papa Bear on his way out? 
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    August 2012
    S M T W T F S
    « Jul   Sep »
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    262728293031  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Obama Starts Cashing In Directly For Bailing Out Wall Street
      Not confirmed, at this point. “What sources are telling FOX Business Network is that former President Obama, now less than 100 days out of office, has agreed to a speaking engagement during Cantor Fitzgerald’s healthcare conference in September,” FBN’s Gasparino said. “We understand that he is going to be the keynote speaker for the lunch, […]
  • Top Posts

What Susie Said…

From her post Extradition:

You may have caught the grand kabuki of Great Britain insisting it is a matter of preserving international law that they extradite Julian Assange for his alleged sexual crimes.

As Ian Welsh reminds us, Chilean dictator Pinochet had women raped with specially trained dogs, and Britain wouldn’t extradite him.

 

 

Debunking the myth that the NIH discovers drugs and industry just exploits it

Derek Lowe describes how the drug discovery process really works and why critics who perpetuate the myth that the NIH discovers targets and drugs before the pharma industry ruthlessly exploits the taxpayer don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.  Here’s a snippet but if you’re interested in this kind of thing because you don’t know much about it, you should read the whole post:

 I think I’ve hit on at least one fundamental misconception that these people have. All of them seem to think that the key step in drug discovery is target ID – once you’ve got a molecular target, you’re pretty much home free, and all that was done by NIH money, etc., etc. It seems that these people have a very odd idea about high-throughput screening: they seem to think that we screen our vast collections of molecules and out pops a drug.

Of course, out is what a drug does not pop, if you follow my meaning. What pops out are hits, some of which are not what they say on the label any more. And some of the remaining ones just don’t reproduce when you run the same experiment again. And even some of the ones that do reproduce are showing up as hits not because they’re affecting your target, but because they’re hosing up your assay by some other means. Once you’ve cleared all that underbrush out, you can start to talk about leads.

Those lead molecules are not created equal, either. Some of them are more potent than others, but the more potent ones might be much higher molecular weights (and thus not as ligand efficient). Or they might be compounds from another project and already known to hit a target that you don’t want to hit. Once you pick out the ones that you actually want to do some chemistry on, you may find, as you start to test new molecules in the series, that some of them have more tractable structure-activity relationships than others. There are singletons out there, or near-singletons: compounds that have some activity as they stand, but for which every change in structure represents a step down. The only way to find that out is to test analogs. You might have some more in your files, or you might be able to buy some from the catalogs. But in many cases, you’ll have to make them yourself, and a significant number of those compounds you make will be dead ends. You need to know which ones, though, so that’s valuable information.

That’s just the start of the problem as Derek goes on to point out.  This is usually where the drug designers get involved, sifting through the information that comes from the screens, clustering the compounds that show activity, doing searches on in-house and commercial databases, finding the common features of the hits to determine if there’s a reason why they’re active, and proposing modifications to those lead series (that the chemists will ignore).  You do this on enough projects and you become a very good pattern spotter without really trying.  But that was only a small part of my job.  Most of the projects I’ve been involved in go on for years.  It’s a very iterative process and sometimes, the project takes off on tangents  It’s like untying a giant knot with lots of little subknots that sometimes need to be solved first.

The bottom line is that as valuable as the NIH contribution is, it’s usually the 1% inspiration that leads to the drug industry’s 99% perspiration.

Politicians should spend a little time interviewing the drug discovery people.  I don’t mean the executives or the lobbyists.  I mean the people who actually do the work.  It appears that there is a lot of mythology to dispel still.  And without a more complete concept of how drug discovery works, it’s difficult to craft policies to make pharma research work for patients, government and businesses.

If I might make a suggestion to Derek, visual aids might be useful.  Just dig a couple of slides from your latest pre-project team meeting and modify the names of the targets.  People will not really grasp what is involved until they see it.

Getting justice for Assange without cheapening rape allegations

If I were the Swedish women who filed rape allegations against Julian Assange, I would be positively livid that the Swedish government didn’t do all that was humanly possible to make sure he stood trial in Sweden, was convicted in Sweden and spent all of the jail time that was coming to him in Sweden.

The fact that the Swedes are not guaranteeing that Julian Assange will not be turned over to (fall into the hands of, intercepted on the way, captured by a separate entity and turned over to, you imagine the permutations, use your imagination) the US once he is extradited to Sweden tells me everything I need to know about how seriously Sweden is taking the accusations of rape.

All you hyperventilating “feminists” who are screaming for Assange to be strung up by his balls even though nothing has been proven yet, should be outraged that Sweden is not absolutely committed to bringing Assange to trial in Sweden.

An accusation does not mean the guy is guilty.  Yeah, yeah, I know what you *feel* based on what you’ve read but you’ve only heard one side of the story.  It was a similar attitude that drove people over the edge in the Casey Anthony trial.  They just *feel* she’s guilty of murder.  Without evidence, they couldn’t convict her of a damn thing.  Maybe she did something, maybe she didn’t.  Anger and truthiness doesn’t make it OK to convict someone without a trial no matter how much you sympathize with the victims.  It is precisely the reason why we have due process and all that shit that the US threw out the window after 9/11.  Lynch mobs are unacceptable.  Innocent people can be hurt.  Oh, sure, to some of you, you just know that he did it because you automatically identify with the accusers.  But that’s not the way the law works.

If Sweden wants a trial for rape, if it considers the allegations to be serious and wants justice for the victims, it’s pretty easy to agree not to send him to the US.  If he turns out to not be guilty, offer him asylum in Sweden.  How hard is this??  What does the US have to do with a rape in Sweden?  The answer is- nothing.  The US wants to do to him what we do to other people who we want to punish without actually having to go through the bother of having a trial and presenting evidence.  I guarantee you that if Assange comes to the US, he’ll be treated like an enemy combatant, stuck in a jail indefinitely and never come to trial because his “crime” concerns state secrets that can’t be presented in court.  To be honest, none of us are safe from that kind of treatment.  It started under Bush but it got worse under Obama.  It’s yet one more reason why I will NEVER vote for Obama.  He violates every American standard of justice that I believe in.

I’m sure that it’s in the best interests of the US to whip up a frenzy over a rape and make it look like he has to answer to US, but such is not the case.  The issue is being deliberately confused so that even if Assange is found to have done nothing in Sweden, deep sixxing him in a US jail is going to look acceptable because he now looks like a rapist.  But that’s not justice.  If the Swedes want to try him for rape, let them try him for rape.  If the US wants to try him for accepting classified information, let them apply for extradition based on that.  But let’s not haul his ass off to jail in the US based on a crime that may or may not have happened in Sweden.

Apparently, this is how the Ecuadorans see the situation as well.

The fact that Sweden isn’t moving heaven and earth to guarantee that justice for the alleged rape victims happens in Sweden tells me everything I need to know about how whistleblowers will be treated in the future.  They’ll be accused of bestiality or pedophilia or rape.  And the disgust that will be provoked in the audience will be enough to make the whistleblower look bad no matter what they did.  The practice will become so common that it will become positively Soviet and people around the world will roll their eyes when another rape allegation comes out against a person who has gone afoul of the political system.

The people who are being denied justice right now are the alleged victims and their credibility will always be questioned because Sweden wouldn’t pursue the alleged perpetrator to face justice in Sweden and only Sweden.  It is Sweden that is trivializing and cheapening allegations of rape.

Comments are closed for this post.  People are not thinking rationally because they are angry.  I’m not interested in debating irrational, angry people, just like I don’t want to argue with a foaming at the mouth nutcase that wants to string up Casey Anthony.

Get a grip.  You’re not helping rape victims.  And if there are any comment planters in the audience, go peddle your wares elsewhere.