Target Discovery and Validation in the Post-Genomic Era
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The recent publication of the human genome sequence provides an opportunity both to combat diseases that are presently considered as pharmaceutically intractable and also to improve current therapies for many common human diseases. The identification of every human gene by ongoing bioinformatic efforts has the potential, when combined with functional genomic approaches, to pinpoint the molecular basis of every human disease, and to discover appropriate intervention points. This exciting prospect is directly relevant to the successful development of effective therapeutics because the past record of drug discovery suggests that 30%–40% of experimental drugs fail because an inappropriate biological target was pursued. The major impact of genomic information may therefore be to reduce this biological failure rate by earlier definition of drug targets related to disease susceptibility or progression. This paper briefly reviews some of the approaches that can be used to identify biologically relevant drug targets.
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