Science: Simulated ACTH

For years hundreds of chemists have been trying to solve one of organic chemistry's toughest problems: artificial synthesization of a compound with all the biological (and hence medical) properties of ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone). Last week the University of Pittsburgh announced that a research team headed by Dr. Klaus Hofmann, 49, had turned the trick.

The big difficulty was that the ACTH molecule is a protein, a long chain of amino acid groups linked together in a special sequence like a phrase in telegraphic code. If the code is not reproduced properly, synthetic ACTH will not do the magical things in the human...

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