The Importance of Organic Chemistry
in Medicine

CS316: Advanced Organic Chemistry

Prepared by Lynn McMullin at NSAC
	Organic chemistry has been highly disregarded as a
	discipline of importance for medical and premedical
	curriculums. At present, however, people are
	beginning to make the connection between organic
	chemistry and its importance in the medical field.

	New curriculums are being designed that unite organic
	chemistry and biomedical processes.  Task forces
	consisting of chemistry and biology researchers and
	professors have been formed to design curriculums that
	incorporate organic chemistry courses to suit the
	needs of students in medical fields. These task forces
	are attempting to develop a practical, comprehensive
	approach to organic chemistry as it applies to medicine.

	Organic chemistry is essential in biological and medical
	fields. All living organisms are composed of abundances
	of organic substances. Evolution of life has been
	postulated to have been developed from one single organic
	compound called a nucleotide. Nucleotides polymerize, or
	join together to form the building blocks of all life,
	DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid).

	Organic compounds constitute various substances in the
	body which are vital for life to be sustained. Proteins,
	carbohydrates and lipids are organic compounds that
	contribute to the structure of the human body.
	Organic compounds also make up enzymes and catalysts
	that are mandatory for essential biological processes
	to occur. Also, organic compounds are responsible for
	governing ion transport channels in the cell which
	function in carrying information from one cell to another
	and mediating cell to cell communication. Failure of ion
	transport may result in failure of important biological
	processes in the body.

	Pharmaceuticals are also comprised mainly of organic
	compounds. What doctor would be efficient if he or she
	was not familiar with the structure and function of the
	drugs they were administering? Organic chemistry of
	pharmaceuticals must be understood to properly prescribe
	a drug to a patient.

	The function of organic processes in the body must also
	be known by the doctor even before they attempt to
	administer any drugs. Many medical disorders are due
	to disruption of organic molecules in the body: for
	example, hemophilia. This is a disease in which
	caroxyglutamic acid is deficient in the body. This
	organic compound is essential for blood clotting to
	occur within the body. People who lack this substance
	may die due to a minor cut or small bruise. This
	demonstrates the importance of organic compounds in
	the body.

	Carbon monoxide poisoning is an example of a very
	simple, yet extremely toxic organic compound that even
	in small quantities can cause death. Many toxic
	substances are of organic descent. Doctors must be
	able to determine the effects of these toxic substances
	in the body, recognize the symptoms they are associated
	with, and prescribe the appropriate pharmaceutical to
	combat the poison.

	It is evident that organic molecules are essential for
	the sustenance of all life. Understanding these compounds
	is crucial in the medical field not only to understand
	basic biological functions, but also to predict scenarios
	in the body which may be due to disruption of organic
	substances, or adverse reactions due to foreign organic
	substances in the body. Complete medical efficiency will
	only be achieved when the science of organic chemistry
	is understood.

Chemistry and Veterinary Research Resources on the Internet
Chemistry Online Journal Resources
Online Journal of Veterinary Research
Industry Journals and Magazines (listed alphabetically)