In this unit you will find out that the sensation of pain is caused by the release of a chemical called prostaglandin that stimulates the nerve endings and sends an electrical message to the brain. Inhibiting the formation of prostaglandin reduces pain and we will see, by looking at the specific shape of the molecules involved, how aspirin can so inhibit the formation of prostaglandin. To make the most of the material of this unit you will need to use an organic molecular modelling kit such as the one that is supplied by Molymod to Open University students who study the course that this unit comes from.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit you should have achieved the following learning outcomes.

  • Knowledge and understanding:
  • demonstrate general knowledge and understanding of some of the basic facts, concepts and principles relating to the development of medicines. In particular:
  • the science behind the development of some drugs to achieve particular tasks;
  • how chemical bonding determines the properties of compounds and provides an explanation for the mode of action of drugs.
  • Cognitive (thinking) skills:
  • apply this knowledge and understanding to address familiar and unfamiliar situations;
  • be able to express unit concepts in an objective and factually correct way.
  • Key skills:
  • receive and respond to information obtained from text and models, as well as from numeric, pictorial and audio sources;
  • communicate information clearly, concisely and correctly.
  • Practical skills:
  • (if you obtain a model kit) construct and manipulate models of molecules.