Any substance used in drug development produces its pharmacological impact through a particular biochemical interplay. The term ‘mechanism of action’ (MOA) refers to this precise interaction. It includes the enzyme, or receptor, or any other molecular target such as an ion channel, with which the drug has an affinity.
Some drugs do not bind with any receptor. They work directly through interactions with the physical or chemical property of an organism. Antacids and laxatives are typical examples. However, many drugs work through binding with molecular targets.
Such drugs produce anatomical and functional changes in the cells of an organism through their synergy with specific molecular targets. Mechanism of Action (MOA) describes these changes.
Mechanism of Action (MOA) Study in Drug Development
In the drug development process, MOA studies help gain a more profound comprehension of molecular targets. These studies facilitate the identification of proteins and activated pathways present in a small molecule.
The MOA can take place inside a cell, outside it, or on the cell membrane. There are different ways of MOA, also. Regarding interaction with enzymes, an MOA study reveals whether a drug inhibits or activates one or more enzymes. Concerning receptors, there are agonist, antagonist, partial agonist, or reverse agonist drug actions.
An MOA study can also reveal if a drug acts through blocking transport processes. There are also different forms of drug action that such studies can reveal. Chelating agents and osmotic diuretics are typical examples.
MOA Study Methods
Different methods are in use for conducting MOA studies, with microscopy-based methods being particularly relevant for antibacterial agents. Direct biochemical methods are beneficial specifically for small molecule drugs. Another MOA study method for small molecule drugs is computation inference. Omics based methods like genomics and reverse genetics are also used for studying a drug’s mechanism of action.
The Importance of MOA Studies in Drug Development
MOA studies are essential in the drug development process for several reasons. They are particularly crucial for small molecule drug development and testing. In the case of anti-infection drugs, for example, knowledge about the mechanism of action allows anticipating clinical safety issues.
For instance, drugs that upset the cytoplasmic membrane or the electron transport chain may cause toxicity. Drugs that target structures of the cell wall absent in human beings are safer, therefore.
MOA studies of existing drugs help in the development of new drugs with the same healing effects. Also, such studies help identify the off-target pathways that a drug compound might activate.
Mechanism of action has an important role to play in dosage decisions. This is possible through the MOA study of drug pathways by monitoring the movement and impact of the drug in the patient’s body.
These studies also facilitate the prevention of drug resistance. MOA studies make it possible to combine drugs in a manner that allows inhibition of multiple targets with a single dose.MOA studies help in identifying patients most likely to benefit from treatment. There has been a successful application of this technique in developing drugs for different diseases and disorders in biolab.