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‘Endless possibilities’: the chemists changing molecules atom by atom

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Guardian or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: Mark Levin, a University of Chicago chemist, is pioneering "skeletal editing," a method to manipulate individual atoms within molecules
• This innovation has significant implications for synthetic chemistry, materials science, drug design, and environmental sustainability

🔭 The context: Traditional synthetic chemistry methods, though capable of creating complex molecules, are often cumbersome and limited
• Skeletal editing represents a significant evolution in this field, offering a more flexible and efficient way to synthesize molecules

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: The skeletal editing process has the potential to transform drug discovery, enable the creation of new sustainable materials, and accelerate the development of new technologies in chemistry and medicine
• The implications for human health and environmental sustainability could be profound

⏭️ What's next: The technology is still in its early stages, with around 5% of the necessary toolbox developed
• The field is advancing quickly, and Levin, along with other scientists, is eager to expand the potential applications of this revolutionary approach

💬 One quote: “You can imagine a world where you can design exactly the right molecule to attack a specific cancer patient’s tumour” 
(Dr Robert Scoffin, entrepreneur and manager within the life sciences software industry)

📈 One stat: Levin estimates that a complete skeletal editing toolbox for drug discovery would involve maybe a thousand different reactions, and it is now about 5% full after just two years of research

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