Under the banner of the "HKBU Distinguished Lecture Series," Professor Timothy John Mitchison from Harvard Medical School recently illuminated a crowd of about 100 participants with a riveting talk titled "Medicines that shaped history and prospects for future drug discovery". The lecture, held on 6 November, traced the fascinating trajectory of pharmacology, from the 'key and lock' concept of Morphine to the 'magic bullet' principle of Penicillin, and onto the emerging frontiers of gene therapy.
Professor Mitchison's lecture highlighted the transformative impact of these historical breakthroughs, explaining how Morphine revolutionised our understanding of drug-receptor interactions while Penicillin ushered in an era of targeted bacterial treatment, sparing the host. His talk also ventured into the future, outlining the promise and challenges of gene therapy.
Professor Mitchison suggested the future of pharmacology might also lie in its past, with a potential resurgence of interest in plant and fungal extracts and traditional Chinese herbs. Overall, his seminar provided a thought-provoking exploration of the rich history and exciting future of drug discovery.