NeuAge Institute (NAI)

Drug Development: What to Know Before You Begin Pharmacovigilance in Clinical Research

A group of quality assurance professionals during pharmacovigilance training.

Drug development has come a long way since ancient civilizations used herbs and natural remedies to treat various illnesses. In modern times, drug discovery has become a complex and expensive process involving advanced technologies and extensive research. If you’re considering starting pharmacovigilance clinical research training, you may be interested in knowing the history and evolution of the drug development process and what the future holds for the pharmaceutical industry. In this blog, we will examine the brief history of drug discovery and how it has evolved.

Drug Development Taught in Pharmacovigilance Training

One of the first things to learn during pharmacovigilance training is the history of drug development. The history of drug discovery can be traced back to the early 19th century when the first synthetic drug was developed. German chemist Friedrich Sertürner isolated morphine from opium in 1804, and it became the first pure compound used to relieve pain. The discovery of morphine marked the beginning of synthetic drug development, and it paved the way for further research.

Two quality assurance professionals examine a shelf of drugs after pharmacovigilance training.
As taught in pharmacovigilance training, the discovery of morphine marked a turning point in the development of drugs.

In the late 19th century, scientists discovered the therapeutic properties of salicylic acid, which was later modified to create aspirin. Aspirin became the first mass-produced drug widely used to treat pain, fever, and inflammation. The discovery of Aspirin marked a significant milestone in drug development, showing that synthetic drugs could be produced on a large scale.

The 20th Century

The 20th century saw tremendous advancements in drug discovery. In the 1920s, the discovery of insulin revolutionized the treatment of diabetes. In the 1940s, the discovery of penicillin and other antibiotics transformed the treatment of infectious diseases. The development of chemotherapy drugs in the 1950s enabled the treatment of cancer.

The 1980s saw the emergence of biotechnology, which paved the way for the development of a new class of drugs. Biotechnology allowed for the production of complex proteins and monoclonal antibodies, which have since become essential drugs for treating various diseases, including cancer and autoimmune disorders.

Modern Day Pharmacology

The drug discovery process has become more sophisticated over the years, and today, it involves a combination of techniques, including high-throughput screening, computational modeling, and targeted drug design. As you’ll discover in our pharmacovigilance courses,  high-throughput screening involves testing large numbers of compounds for their ability to interact with a particular target molecule. Computational modeling uses computer simulations to predict how a drug will interact with its target molecule. In contrast, targeted drug design involves designing drugs that are specific to a particular target molecule.

Genetic engineering concept featuring two scientists in a lab after pharmacovigilance training.
The rise of nanotechnology may have a profound impact on your pharmacovigilance career.

Despite the significant advancements in drug discovery, the process remains challenging and costly. It can take over a decade and cost billions of dollars to bring a new drug to market. The drug development process involves numerous stages, including discovery, preclinical development, clinical development, regulatory approval, and post-marketing surveillance.

Pharmacovigilance is responsible for monitoring and assessing the safety of the drug being tested. This includes identifying and reporting adverse events, as well as conducting ongoing safety assessments to ensure that the drug is safe for patients.

It is important to have a robust pharmacovigilance plan in place before beginning clinical research. This plan should include procedures for reporting adverse events, training for study personnel on pharmacovigilance practices, and procedures for ongoing safety assessments. Having a clear and comprehensive plan in place can help ensure that all aspects of pharmacovigilance are properly executed throughout the duration of the clinical trial

Future of Drug Development

The future of drug development looks promising, with the emergence of new technologies such as CRISPR gene editing, precision medicine, and artificial intelligence. CRISPR gene editing allows scientists to modify genes with unprecedented precision, which could lead to the development of new gene therapies. Precision medicine involves tailoring treatments to individual patients based on their genetic makeup, which could improve treatment outcomes and reduce side effects. Artificial intelligence has the potential to revolutionize drug discovery by speeding up the process of drug design and identifying new drug targets.

Are you interested in pursuing a pharmacovigilance career?

Contact the NeuAge Institute to learn how you can get started.

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