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What is the difference between biochemical, pharmaceutical, and diagnostic chemical...

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What is the difference between biochemical, pharmaceutical, and diagnostic chemical reactions in healthcare?

What is a specific example that exists for each of these chemical reaction types above and why might it be of importance to healthcare professionals?

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We are looking at biochemical, pharmaceutical, and medical diagnostic chemical reactions.

Biochemical reactions are chemical reactions that naturally occur in living organisms.  They involve different biomolecules interacting with each other to create new biochemicals for a specific use in the body.  The major classes of biochemicals are proteins, nucleic acids, lipids (fats), and sugars (carbohydrates).  An example is two amino acids forming an amide bond to create a dipeptide and losing a water molecule.  These amino acid chains that form this way create the vast number of proteins found in the human body.

glycine + valine --> glycine-valine + H2O

Pharmaceutical chemical reactions are the result of a man-made pharmaceutical interacting with a biomolecule in the human body.  Most classic pharmaceuticals are small molecules with a molecular weight between 200 and 1000 that interact with specific receptors in the body.  An example is aspirin.  It transfers an acetyl group from the aspirin molecule to a serine amino acid residue of a protein enzyme called a COX inhibitor.  In reaction form that would be:

aspirin + COX --> salicylic acid + COX-OAc

Finally, a diagnostic chemical reaction is a chemical reaction as part of a healthcare diagnostic test, ususally occurring outside of the human body in a medical instrument.  A diagnostic test is a test that helps a doctor make a medical diagnosis for a patient.  An example is the test to measure the blood levels of serum albumin, the most commonly found protein in human blood serum.  The dye bromocresol green binds with albumin, thus forming a colored complex.  The light absorption of this complex is measured with a spectrophotometer to determine the concentration of albumin in the blood sample. 

albumin + bromocresol green --> albumin-bromocresol green complex

All of these test are helpful for the healthcare community.  The more scientists understand the chemistry of the human body in all aspects, the better they can help patients.


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