How medicines work

How medicines work: the ongoing battle between people and disease

Throughout human history people have suffered from both communicable and non-communicable diseases. And throughout history people have looked for ways to treat or cure those diseases. For centuries we had little or no idea what causes disease, and so our attempts to find medicines were limited. Today our knowledge of the processes of disease is growing all the time – and with it, our understanding of which medicines to use and how they work.


This resource is aimed at students aged 16+. It leads them through the development of new medicines, the treatment of communicable diseases including non bacterial infections and how vaccination works. It then goes on to consider the treatment of non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and other hormonal diseases, cardiovascular illness and allergies. It concludes by considering the detection of disease and personalised medicine.

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