KARACHI: Pakistan’s first ever compound bank has been established in Dr Panjwani center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), at the University ofKarachi. The compound bank provides state of the art biological and pharmacological screening facilities as a support service to the researchers of the world.
The main objective of the bank is to collect, organize and probe the wealth of natural and synthetic compounds which are isolated and synthesized in the country and across the world.
The International center for Chemical and Biological Sciences, Hussain Ibrahim Jamal (HEJ) Institute of Chemistry at University of Karachi is the main provider of compounds.
Within the country, samples have been received from the University of Karachi, Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Punjab University, Quaid-e-Azam University,Peshawar University, Balochistan University, Bahaud-din-Zakarya University and Allama Iqbal Open University.
Moreover, Germany, Morocco, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other states also send their compounds for analysis.
While submitting a compound, scholars provide every detail in a form such as class, structure, molecular weight, source and its International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) name.
Then chemists perform various tests such as thin layer chromatography (TLC), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and other spectroscopy methods to check its purity. Then all the compounds are stored after bar-coding.
Probe for potential
Sadia Siddiq is the head of the compound bank at PCMD. She first trained at Max-Delbruck-Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, Germany and also visited compound libraries at Max-Plank Institute for Molecular Physiology, Dortmund, Germany and the Helmholtz-Center for Infectious Disease, Braunschweig, Germany.
Siddiq told Dawn.com that the bioassay they have has very large bio-activities for different diseases such as Cancer, Alzheimer and Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, inflammation, arthritis, cataract, arthrosclerosis, malaria, infections, resistant microbial infections, oxidative stress, rheumatoid arthritis and tropical diseases.
“With the passage of time, we will introduce new tests,” she added.
Compound banks are essential because they are the first step towards drug discovery inPakistan and the only way to discover the potential of any compound. Compounds bind with enzymes and decrease their activity, thus blocking an enzyme’s activity could kill a pathogen or correct a metabolic imbalance.
Various labs in PCMD, HEJ and other institutes check the compound for any potential against diseases.
Scientists test the compound for Enzyme Inhibition, Antioxidant, Antimicrobial, Cytotoxicity (anticancer) activities and Antiglycation assays. Incase of any promising bio activity, the findings are transferred to the bank. Then, the scholar who isolated or synthesized the compound presents the details of the findings.
The studies are performed on a collaborative basis in which both, the scholar and the bank share data for relevant publications.
High Through Put (HTP) screening is a new technique to asses many samples in a short period. Eighty different compounds can be assessed by this technique very quickly. For this method, all the compounds are solublised at a standard concentration with DMSO, which is a universal solvent.
Siddiq started the compound bank in 2005, which is still in its early stage. The main aim of this compound bank is to assess the diversity of the compound and their potential against diseases.
In 2005 there were merely a few hundred compounds in our bank and now the number has crossed 7,000. Siddiq, who is very optimist about the future of this bank, said that her desire is to see the number raised to millions of compounds in the coming years.
“Various investigations from the compounds have been published and several patents given. This is very promising phenomenon,” said Siddiq.