As we approach the end of the year, I guess it is time to look back at the good and bad events within it. On TV, we will be inundated with tributes to those celebrities who died during the year. Mercifully, 2017 seems to be marginally better in this respect than 2016, although I’m sure that there are statisticians who would argue that there is no statistical difference. With Drug Discovery Today, I tend to look back only on the good things that happened in the year, and for us, 2017 was a good year with an approximate 13% increase in Impact Factor. Speaking purely personally, I think that the standard and breadth of articles featured in the Journal over the year was of the highest standard in my 15 tenure as Editor. So, in this final newsletter of the year, I’d also like to feature some of that excellent content. Picking which articles to highlight is a difficult process not altogether dissimilar from being asked to nominate your favourite child. So, I’ll go with the 3 most cited articles of the year, which is not altogether a scientific process, as the articles have been published at different times in the year, giving them different opportunities to have been cited. In my mind’s eye I can see the statistician that I mentioned earlier sharpening his pencil to jot down all of the errors inherent in this process. But so what? They are excellent papers irrespective of numbers of citations, they cover a wide range of topics, and most importantly, I like them. If this is the Editor’s Choice then this is about the only perk I get. I hope you enjoy them in any case.
The first article in this month’s offering is entitled: “Molecular dynamics-driven drug discovery: leaping forward with confidence”, by Aravindhan Ganesan, Michelle L. Coote and Khaled Barakat. In this article, the authors explain how molecular dynamics can be a powerful tool in structure-drug design. Such in silico-driven approaches have the potential to streamline the search for new candidate molecules and, hence, massively reduce time, effort and cost in the discovery phase. They further outline the theoretical basis of this approach and some of the new hybrid techniques that are becoming more popular.
The second featured article is by Aditya Ganju, Sheema Khan, Bilal B. Hafeez, Stephen W. Behrman, Murali M. Yallapu, Subhash C. Chauhan and Meena Jaggi of the University of Tennessee and is entitled: “miRNA nanotherapeutics for cancer”. If you wanted to hit all the buttons for popularity, then this article really does it, not one, not two but three keywords certain to attract the attention of researchers. Hardly surprising that this article has already been heavily cited. As you might imagine the combination of these techniques is highly likely to have a major impact in the treatment of cancers. The use of antibody tagged nanoparticles to delivery miRNA payloads has inherent potential advantages over existing delivery and targeting methodologies, not least reduced therapeutic payload, reducing cost and potential for toxicity while increasing cellular uptake and bioavailability. A potential citation classic for the future.
Finally, we come to the article “Pharmaceutical and biomaterial engineering via electrohydrodynamic atomization technologies” From Prina Mehta, Rita Haj-Ahmad, Manoochehr Rasekh, Muhammad S. Arshad, Ashleigh Smith, Susanna M. van der Merwe, Xiang Li, Ming-Wei Chang and Zeeshan Ahmad from the Universities of Leicester and Portsmouth UK and Zhejiang University, China. This paper is a significant departure from the previous ones, in that it deals with advanced engineering techniques. In a nutshell, they describe the principles and promise of Electrohydrodynamic atomization (EHDA) technologies in the production of advanced micro and nanostructures of complex pharmaceuticals. Such approaches may solve many of the problems associated with formulation of advanced therapies.
Steve Carney was born in Liverpool, England and studied Biochemistry at Liverpool University, obtaining a BSc.(Hons) and then read for a PhD on the Biochemistry and Pathology of Connective Tissue Diseases in Manchester University, in the Departments of Medical Biochemistry and Histopathology. On completion of his PhD he moved to the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, London, where he worked with Professor Helen Muir FRS and Professor Tim Hardingham, on the biochemistry of experimental Osteoarthritis. He joined Eli Lilly and Co. and held a number of positions in Biology R&D, initially in the Connective Tissue Department, but latterly in the Neuroscience Department. He left Lilly to take up his present position as Managing Editor, Drug Discovery Today, at Elsevier. Currently, he also holds an honorary lectureship in Drug Discovery at the University of Surrey, UK. He has authored over 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals, written several book chapters and has held a number of patents.