In 1939, when millions of adults were preparing to kill each other in World War II, Stewart Adams was a disoriented teenager. At age 16, she had decided to throw the towel and get out of school. He was a working class child. His father, a train driver, had vision problems and was downgraded to a less qualified job in the city of March, a railroad in eastern England. There was nothing to imagine that this anesthetized young man would alleviate the suffering of billions of people.
Stewart Adams got his first job on the advice of a family friend. He was still undeveloped and began working as an apprentice at Boots, a local network of pharmacies. A teenager without apparent calling for the study did not seem to be the best shepherd for the company, but Adams continued to study the pharmacy at leisure, learned almost 30 years, and in 1953 was assigned to find a more effective oral anti-inflammatory. certainly as aspirin. In 1969, three decades after he began as an apprentice, he took ibuprofen to pharmacies. The boy was one of the best rents in history. Currently, Boots' pharmacies sell a box of ibuprofen every 2.92 seconds.
As a teenager, Adams entered as an apprentice in a pharmacy and gradually studied Pharmacy in his spare time
Adams died on January 30 at the age of 95, according to a report by his company for half of his life. It was, the company emphasizes, "an anonymous hero." Ibuprofen is currently used to treat almost mild or moderate pain, from migraine to caries, to painful menstruation or postoperative process. Before Adam, this joker did not exist. It is hard to find someone who has so much alleviated humanity's suffering.
The quest for super aspirin was epic, as reported by Australian pharmacist Kim Rainsford in his book ibuprofen (not yet published in Brazil). In 1941, the Nazi pilots of Luftwaffe launched hundreds of bombs in Nottingham, which destroyed some of Boot's research facilities. When Adams started his project in 1953, his lab was placed in the living room of an old Victorian mansion on the outskirts of the city. He only had one assistant, Colin Burrows, later employed by chemist John Nicholson. There began the three new connections.
The researchers administered the products orally to guinea pigs without hair, which were then exposed to a ray of ultraviolet light which caused them small burns. If the inflammation of the skin was light or insignificant, it worked anti-inflammatory. The process was very slow. On December 19, 1961, a compound called RB 1472, originally designed as a herbicide, demonstrated activity against guinea pigs. I would end up being baptized by ibuprofen, but at that time I was just another candidate.
The Adams team began by testing aspirin-like compounds derived from salicylic acid. They discarded 200 connections. They then focused on two drugs synthesized in Boots & # 39; herbicide development program that had anti-inflammatory activity. They produced 600 variants. The most promising, BTS8402, was approx. 10 times more potent than aspirin in the laboratory and was the subject of a clinical trial of persons with rheumatoid arthritis, the same disease that struck a lifelong Jesse Boot, son of the company's founder. The trial was a failure, but the analysis of the results showed that searching for an anti-inflammatory drug was not enough, it also had to fight fever and pain.
But how do you know if an animal feels pain? Adam's team adopted a brilliant technique, developed in 1957 by researchers L. O. Randall and J. J. Selitto. They pinned a rat, but were allowed to move freely their right hind paw. With an untamed rod, the researchers exerted increased pressure on the limbs until the animal felt pain and removed it. The accepted threshold for suffering changed as a function of the previously ingested medicine.
The Adams group – after testing about 600 more molecules in dogs and mice – began clinical trials in humans with three other compounds: BTS10335, BTS10499 and ibufenac. The first two caused rash in the patients, but ibufenac appeared safe. It was put into sale in 1966 in the UK. Some years later, it was withdrawn from the market as liver damage was reported in some people who took it often. There were four successes in a row.
Attention then turned to the molecule with anti-inflammatory activity discovered on December 19, 1961. "I was the first person to take ibuprofen," Adams explained in an interview to the journal Trends in Pharmacological Sciences in 2012. "I always thought it was important that I take the first dose before asking others to do it. I had tried some drugs before, but never before taking a 30-day toxicity test on mice!" He shot.
The fifth was successful.
The team led by Adams studied 1,500 compounds in animals and took five of them for human trials. The fifth was successful. Clinical trials have shown that ibuprofen was effective in patients with rheumatoid arthritis without major side effects. In 1969, the British authorities approved the substance. In 1971, after a party with colleagues, Adams discovered that ibuprofen relieved the hangover when he chuckled at the British newspaper The Telegraph. And in 1983 with the increasing number of therapeutic indications, the regulator allowed the sale of the drug without a prescription. It was 30 years since Adams had taken up his mission.
"Who could have predicted for more than 35 years that when looking for a medicine to treat rheumatoid arthritis, there seems to be a correlation between sunburn in guinea pigs, headache, toothache and menstrual pain?" Asked his own Adams in 1992 in the specialized publication Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. It is often said that the search for drugs is a minefield and that one must be lucky so that one does not go after the road. But Adams preferred to remember a sentence from French chemist Louis Pasteur: "Luck only favors the prepared mind." Today, the annual turnover of ibuprofen in the world reaches $ 3 billion (R $ 11 billion), according to Rainsford. In 1987, the man who had fallen out of age 16 was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire.