Drugs Affecting 5-HT Systems
Wellcome Witnesses to Contemporary Medicine;Volume 47
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This full-day Witness Seminar, chaired by Professor Rod Flower, was attended by pharmacologists from industry, academe and clinicians, some of whose research into 5-HT (serotonin) dated from the 1950s and all of whom have made important contributions to the discovery and development of drugs affecting 5-HT systems. Such drugs include treatments for, inter alia, migraine, emesis and psychiatric disorders and include some of the most frequently prescribed, and most profitable, medicinal compounds in the world. After a review of earlier work in the 1940s, the participants discussed the trajectories and determinants of their own careers and research pathways. Coming from diverse backgrounds – with degrees in zoology, biochemistry, medicine and pharmacology, they all became interested in the role of 5-HT in neural functioning. The development of analytical and experimental techniques; the early nomenclature of receptors which later provided a basis for the International Pharmacological Congress’ classification of 5-HT receptors; the impact of molecular biology; the significance of particular meetings and symposia were all debated and discussed. A particularly interesting perspective that emerged was that of differences, similarities, and collaborative relationships between scientists working in industry and academe, in developing therapeutic compounds and in understanding basic physiological control mechanisms in health and disease.