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PHARMACOLOGYborder

Pharmacology is the branch of medicine and biology concerned with the study of drug action, where a drug can be broadly defined as any man-made, natural, or endogenous (within the body) molecule which exerts a biochemical and/or physiological effect on the cell, tissue, organ, or organism. More specifically, it is the study of the interactions that occur between a living organism and chemicals that affect normal or abnormal biochemical function. If substances have medicinal properties, they are considered pharmaceuticals.

The field encompasses drug composition and properties, synthesis and drug design, molecular and cellular mechanisms, organ/systems mechanisms, signal transduction/cellular communication, molecular diagnostics, interactions, toxicology, chemical biology, therapy, and medical applications and antipathogenic capabilities. The two main areas of pharmacology are pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. The former studies the effects of the drug on biological systems, and the latter the effects of biological systems on the drug. In broad terms, pharmacodynamics discusses the chemicals with biological receptors, and pharmacokinetics discusses the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) of chemicals from the biological systems. Pharmacology is not synonymous with pharmacy and the two terms are frequently confused. Pharmacology, a biomedical science, deals with the research, discovery, and characterization of chemicals which show biological effects and the elucidation of cellular and organismal function in relation to these chemicals. In contrast, pharmacy, a health services profession, is concerned with application of the principles learned from pharmacology in its clinical settings; whether it is in a dispensing or clinical care role. In either field, the primary contrast between the two is their distinctions between direct-patient care, for pharmacy practice, and the science-oriented research field, driven by pharmacology.

The last decades have witnessed a rapidly increasing prevalence of chronic and severe diseases, such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases, which have devastating health and economic consequences and are the most challenging contemporary threats to public health. The populations of the Middle East countries are particularly affected with such illnesses and obesity-related maladies have reached alarming proportions. This situation calls for urgent preventive, early detection strategies and effective therapies.