Infinite Number of Undetectable Designer Steroids with Combinatorial Chemistry

Researcher Jason Thomas, a graduate student in the doctoral program for synthetic organic chemistry at City University in New York, takes us inside the mind of a designer steroid chemist in an interview with Culturekiosque. Thomas describes a powerful tool that has the potential to create an infinite number of undetectable, designer anabolic steroids.

Once steroid designers specify the essential features and desired biological activity for steroid drug design, hundreds of novel designer steroids could be synthesized or simulated through Dynamic Combinatorial Chemistry (DCC) ["Designer Steroids: Speeding Evolution (and Filling Stadium Seats)" August 8].

Until now, human attempts to change testosterone’s anabolic, androgenic or estrogen-related properties have been relatively slow due to the fact that they have been addressed one at a time. A steroid designer imagines a certain compound, synthesizes it, and then tests it for effectiveness. This can take a matter of weeks or years. However, this process is about to undergo a drastic change. Dynamic Combinatorial Chemistry is a complicated process, so instead of explaining how it works I will simply provide the bottom line. Once steroid chemists have invested the necessary time into the chemical strategy for DCC, hundreds of novel steroid compounds can be synthesized and tested within a matter of minutes. The entire process is orchestrated by computers. The pharmaceutical sector has recently employed this process, and steroid manufactures will soon follow suit, if they haven’t already.

Since the four ring carbon structure was extremely complicated for synthetic chemists to create, they have historically created most steroidal compounds from diosgenin, a steroidal substance occuring naturally in the Mexican wild yam. This has limited the number of undetectable performance enhancing drugs that rogue chemists could synthesize for tested elite athletes. But with combinatorial chemistry, chemists are not limited by the four-ring steroid construction.

Steroid designers have been limited by the structure of the molecule. But that is going to change, because there are now new ways to make the molecule all together. Until now, you started with diosgenin. You go to progesterone, then you make all other anabolic steroids. You can only do but so much because that basic structure is all there. Now, they are putting these things together from different pieces and in the next few years they might find something as anabolic as pure testosterone but with none of the side effects. For the moment, this is not possible as long as they use diosgenin as the initial compound. In my opinion, designer steroids are going to blow up in the next couple of years. Instead of making 50 different molecules they will be able to make 50 million different combinations. It will be like evolution all over again [without the limitations of time]. (emphasis added)

The steroid chemist behind the BALCO steroid scandal, Patrick Arnold of Ergopharm, explains that this is how pharmaceutical companies are creating a new class of drugs known as Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs) that are not “steroids” but could potentially have significant performance enhancing effects. SARMs have long promised all the benefits of anabolic steroids with none of the side effects. Furthermore, Patrick Arnold suggests “anabolic” performance enhancing non-steroidal drug that bypass the four-ring steroid structure could be effective at eluding detection by anti-doping agencies.

This is the type of thing they use in the development of SARMS, which are non steroidal androgens/anabolics.

Why confine you to the four ring structure of steroids when that is too easy for the drug testers to figure out (steroid backbones have unique signatures on the mass spec)? And (in the case of legit medicine) too politically incorrrect.

The use of dynamic combinatorial chemistry to create novel (undetectable) designer steroids could prove a more serious challenge to anti-doping agencies than other emerging doping methods such as synthetic blood doping and gene doping.


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