The technique of molecular imprinting allows for the preparation of synthetic polymers with specific binding sites for a target molecule. This can be achieved if the target is present during the polymerization process, thus acting as a molecular template. Monomers carrying certain functional groups are arranged around the template through either noncovalent or covalent interactions. Following polymerization with a high degree of cross-linking, the functional groups become fixed in defined positions by the polymer network. Subsequent removal of the template by solvent extraction or chemical cleavage leaves cavities that are complementary to the template in terms of size, shape and arrangement of the functional groups. These highly specific receptor sites are capable of rebinding the target molecule with high specificity, sometimes comparable to that of antibodies. Molecularly imprinted polymers have therefore been named “antibody mimics”. It has been shown that they can be substituted for biological receptors in certain formats of immunoassays and biosensors. They are characterized by high stability.
Target molecules for which we want to prepare ‘artificial binding sites’ or ‘molecular imprints’, which are normally large complex protein molecules, are identified and selected as ‘template molecules. These template molecules are added to a mixture of ‘monomers’ and ‘activators’ and thoroughly mixed. This mixture is allowed to undergo a process of ‘self assembling’ and ‘polymerization’, which is actually a ‘guest-host’ molecular complex, in which the template molecules are trapped in a hardened polymer matrix which act as ‘host’. This ‘host-guest’ complex is pulverized, and subjected to a process of ‘solvent extraction’, by which soluble template molecules are remove from insoluble polymer matrix. The resultant preparation consists of polymer matrix carrying empty spaces or ‘cavities’ where the template molecules were originally trapped. These cavities are called ‘molecular imprints’, which actually mimic the spacial configuration of template molecules. Due to this complementary configuration, these ‘molecular imprints’ exhibit a special affinity towards original template molecules, and act as ‘artificial binding sites’ for them. Due to this special affinity, they could be used as substitutes for biological receptors in certain formats of immunoassays and bio-sensors.
Since ‘molecular imprinted polymers’ prepared by this process are synthetic polymers, they cannot be used as drugs.
Homeopathy uses water-ethyl alcohol mixture as ‘host’ in place of polymers, and drug molecules as ‘templates’ or ‘guests’ for preparing molecular imprints that could be used as drugs. Since molecular imprints prepared by this process consist of only water and ethyl alcohol molecules, they could be safely used as therapeutic agents.
According to my view, homeopathic potentization is actually a biofriendly adaptation of molecular imprinting technology, originally done in polymers.