Enantiomer Specificity in Pharmaceuticals

The molecules of the month this month come from three papers: Demonstration of Enantiomer Specificity of Proteins and Drugs by Gretchen L. Anderson, Incorporation of Medicinal Chemistry into the Organic Chemistry Curriculum by David C. Forbes, and Infusing the Chemistry Curriculum with Green Chemistry Using Real-World Examples, Web Modules, and Atom Economy in Organic Chemistry Courses by Michael C. Cann and Trudy A. Dickneider.The authors of these papers use molecules whose names at least are familiar to the majority of students to introduce important structural and synthetic concepts. A particularly poignant example is that of thalidomide, in which the two enantiomers produce dramatically, and in the case of the S form tragically, different results. In addition to demonstrating enantiospecific reactivity, the thalidomide case is a good starting point for a discussion of how chemists ask questions, what questions we should be asking, and whether or not it is possible to minimize, if not completely eliminate, unintended consequences.
Enantiomer Specificity in Pharmaceuticals   
(Interactive Simulation (1))