5: Medicines for the Future
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The advances in drug development and delivery described in this booklet reflect scientists' growing knowledge about human biology. This knowledge has allowed them to develop medicines targeted to specific molecules or cells. In the future, doctors may be able to treat or prevent diseases with drugs that actually repair cells or protect them from attack. No one knows which of the techniques now being developed will yield valuable future medicines, but it is clear that thanks to pharmacology research, tomorrow's doctors will have an unprecedented array of weapons to fight disease.
Careers in Pharmacology
Wanna be a pharmacologist? If you choose pharmacology as a career, here are some of the places you might find yourself working:
College or University. Most basic biomedical research across the county is done by scientists at colleges and universities. Academic pharmacologists perform research to determine how medicines interact with living systems. They also teach pharmacology to graduate, medical, pharmacy, veterinary, dental, or undergraduate students.
Pharmaceutical Company. Pharmacologists who work in industry participate in drug development as part of a team of scientists. A key aspect of pharmaceutical industry research is making sure new medicines are effective and safe for use in people.
Hospital or Medical Center. Most clinical pharmacologists are physicians who have specialized training in the use of drugs and combinations of drugs to treat various health conditions. These scientists often work with patients and spend a lot of time trying to understand issues relating to drug dosage, including side effects and drug interactions.
Government Agency. Pharmacologists and toxicologists play key roles in formulating drug laws and chemical regulations. Federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration hire many pharmacologists for their expertise in how drugs work. These scientists help develop policies about the safe use of medicines.
You can learn more about careers in pharmacology by contacting professional organizations such as the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (http://www.aspet.org/) or the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (http://www.ascpt.org/)