Computational Chemistry Applications may be the Key to Novel Drug Designs
Dr Ahmed Abd Elkader Elrashedy graduated with a doctoral degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry for his novel research on dual targeting inhibition of the BCR-ABL1 protein as a new strategy for the treatment of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML).
Elrashedy’s innovative research conducted through computational paradigms and their applications could advance the design of novel and selective inhibitors as dual anti-cancer drugs with minimal toxicities. Over the past few decades, it has been established that the tyrosine kinase domain of the BCR-ABL protein is a potential therapeutic target for CML treatment. Although the use of first-generation ATP-competitive tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) of oncoprotein BCR-ABL1 has enabled durable responses in patients with CML, issues relating to drug resistance and residual leukemic stem cells persist.
Second- and third-generation TKIs were later introduced to prevent or counteract drug resistance, but they have been associated with more serious side effects and complications. Elrashedy’s research incorporates combinatorial in silico approaches to investigate proteins that mediate chemotherapeutic resistance, coupled with strategic methods for achieving direct and selective inhibition of both catalytic and Allosteric binding sites of the BCR-ABL1 protein.
Supervised by Professor Mahmoud Soliman, UKZN’s top researcher and Dean of the School of Health Sciences, Elrashedy’s findings resulted in 15 published research articles, with another five under review. ‘I am proud of Ahmed’s achievements during his PhD period and having him as part of my team. I believe that his PhD was a fruitful one in terms of his learning and productivity goals. He has achieved outstanding results,’ commented Soliman.
Elrashedy is a research instructor at the National Research Centre in Egypt. He decided to pursue his PhD in order to develop his career and enhance his proficiency in service delivery through the generation of new knowledge. ‘I wish to express my profound gratitude to my parents, and to Professor Soliman who was my greatest inspiration in this programme, as well as the College of Health Sciences that provided the scholarship which allowed me to pursue my PhD,’ he said.
Elrashedy enjoys reading, writing books, traveling, and fishing and hopes to open his own pharmacy in the near future. His immediate plan is to return to Egypt and continue his work as a research instructor.
Words: MaryAnn Francis