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Developing new drugs quickly, efficiently and safely


Narrator:       This is Science Today. A powerful microscope that's like a CAT scan for cells is allowing researchers to learn so much more about the structure of the cell. Research biophysicist Gerry McDermott of the University of California, San Francisco, is using a technique called soft X-ray tomography at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to study how new drug candidates act on cells — a process which can speed up drug discovery and treatment.

McDermott:   Drug candidates that have a negative effect on tissues can be eliminated from the drug discovery process fairly early stage, rather than waiting until you go to clinical trials, which are very, very expensive.

Narrator:       For the economy and public health, developing new drugs quickly, efficiently and safely is very important.

McDermott:   Currently, it costs about $1.5 billion to develop a new drug. So, we feel this technique has enormous potential to cut that cost and to speed up the drug discovery process.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.