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Photopharmacology is an emerging approach in medicine in which drugs are activated and deactivated with light. The energy of light is used to change for shape and chemical properties of the drug, resulting in different biological activity. This is done to ultimately achieve control when and where drugs are active in a reversible manner, to prevent side effects and exposure to the environment of antibiotics. Switching drugs 'on' and 'off' is achieved by introducing photoswitches such as azobenzene, spiropyran or diarylethene into the drug. By introducing the photoswitch, the drug has two different states between which can be switched with light. Since both states have a different structure, the activity of the drug is different hence the 'on' and 'off' state of the drug[1][2] An example is photostatin, which is an inhibitor that can be switched on and off in vivo, to optically control microtubule dynamics.[3][4]

See also


  1. ^ Velema, Willem A.; Szymanski, Wiktor; Feringa, Ben L. (12 February 2014). "Photopharmacology: Beyond Proof of Principle". J. Am. Chem. Soc. 136 (6): 2178–2191. doi:10.1021/ja413063e. PMID 24456115.
  2. ^ Broichhagen, Johannes (2015). "A Roadmap to Success in Photopharmacology". Accounts of Chemical Research. 48 (7): 1947–1960. doi:10.1021/acs.accounts.5b00129. PMID 26103428.
  3. ^ Borowiak, Malgorzata; Nahaboo, Wallis; Reynders, Martin; Nekolla, Katharina; Jalinot, Pierre; Hasserodt, Jens; Rehberg, Markus; Delattre, Marie; Zahler, Stefan (2015-07-16). "Photoswitchable Inhibitors of Microtubule Dynamics Optically Control Mitosis and Cell Death". Cell. 162 (2): 403–411. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2015.06.049. ISSN 0092-8674. PMID 26165941.
  4. ^ "Colourful chemotherapy". The Economist. July 11, 2015. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2016-05-01.