Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine

, Volume 18, Issue 7, pp 539–542 | Cite as

Drug discovery enters a new era with multi-target intervention strategy

  • Xiao-ying Tian (田晓英)
  • Liang Liu (刘 良)
Academic Exploration


In the past century, as medical research has become increasingly precise, it has become clear that the incidence and progression of many diseases involve multiple factors and pathologies; this is particularly true for the degenerative and metabolic diseases facing industrialized societies. At the same time, it becomes increasingly clear that single-target action drugs cannot effectively treat these diseases. Researchers are looking toward the chemical industry as well as traditional herbal medicines to find multi-target interventions. Thus, a new era in drug discovery has begun. Specifically, three approaches have proven effective in seeking multi-target drugs. These are: (1) designing drugs with multiple components; (2) discovering drugs through the study of synergistic compound-compound interactions in medicinal herbs or among chemical drugs and herbal components; and (3) developing drugs to tackle complex multi-component diseases. The authors conclude that there is an increasing need for multi-component remedies to treat the complex chronic diseases afflicting modern populations. Given this situation and the growing body of evidence that these new approaches are effective, multi-target intervention appears to have great potential for discovering, designing, and developing effective new drugs for today’s diseases.


multi-target intervention compound-compound interaction herb-drug interaction synergy multi-component remedy 


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Copyright information

© Chinese Association of the Integration of Traditional and Western Medicine and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiao-ying Tian (田晓英)
    • 1
  • Liang Liu (刘 良)
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Cancer and Inflammation Research, School of Chinese MedicineHong Kong Baptist UniversityHong Kong SARChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory for Quality Research in Chinese MedicinesMacau University of Science and TechnologyTaipa, MacauChina

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