Genetic study of proteins is a breakthrough in drug development for complex diseases

September 07, 2020

An innovative genetic study of blood protein levels, led by researchers in the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit (MRC-IEU) at the University of Bristol, has demonstrated how genetic data can be used to support drug target prioritisation by identifying the causal effects of proteins on diseases.

Working in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies, Bristol researchers have developed a comprehensive analysis pipeline using genetic prediction of protein levels to prioritise drug targets, and have quantified the potential of this approach for reducing the failure rate of drug development.

Genetic studies of proteins are in their infancy. The aim of this research, published in Nature Genetics, was to establish if genetic prediction of protein target effects could predict drug trial success. Dr Jie Zheng, Professor Tom Gaunt and colleagues from the University of Bristol, worked with pharmaceutical companies to set up a multi-disciplinary collaboration to address this scientific question.

Using a set of genetic epidemiology approaches, including Mendelian randomization and genetic colocalization, the researchers built a causal network of 1002 plasma proteins on 225 human diseases. In doing so, they identified 111 putatively causal effects of 65 proteins on 52 diseases, covering a wide range of disease areas. The results of this study are accessible via EpiGraphDB: http://www.epigraphdb.org/pqtl/

Lead author, Dr Zheng, said their estimated effects of proteins on human diseases could be used to predict the effects of drugs targeting these proteins.

"This analysis pipeline could be used to validate both efficacy and potential adverse effects of novel drug targets, as well as provide evidence to repurpose existing drugs to other indications.

"This study lays a solid methodological foundation for future genetic studies of omics. The next step is for the analytical protocol to be used in early drug target validation pipeline by the study's pharmaceutical collaborators. We hope that these findings will support further drug development?to increase the success rate of drug trials, reduce drug cost and benefit patients," said Dr Zheng.

Tom Gaunt, Professor of Health and Biomedical Informatics, University of Bristol, and a member of the NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre, added: "Our study used publicly available data published by many researchers around the world (collated by the MRC-IEU OpenGWAS database), and really demonstrates the potential of open data sharing in enabling novel discoveries in health research. We have demonstrated that this re-use of existing data offers an efficient approach to reducing drug development costs with anticipated benefits for health and society."
-end-
Paper

'Phenome-wide Mendelian randomization mapping the influence of the plasma proteome on complex diseases' by Jie Zheng et al in Nature Genetics.

University of Bristol

Related Science Articles from Brightsurf:

75 science societies urge the education department to base Title IX sexual harassment regulations on evidence and science
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today led 75 scientific societies in submitting comments on the US Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX regulations.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, biopharma, and pharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2018 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners
Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science.

Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.

Prominent academics, including Salk's Thomas Albright, call for more science in forensic science
Six scientists who recently served on the National Commission on Forensic Science are calling on the scientific community at large to advocate for increased research and financial support of forensic science as well as the introduction of empirical testing requirements to ensure the validity of outcomes.

World Science Forum 2017 Jordan issues Science for Peace Declaration
On behalf of the coordinating organizations responsible for delivering the World Science Forum Jordan, the concluding Science for Peace Declaration issued at the Dead Sea represents a global call for action to science and society to build a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.

PETA science group promotes animal-free science at society of toxicology conference
The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is presenting two posters on animal-free methods for testing inhalation toxicity at the 56th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting March 12 to 16, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science and Public Engagement
James Wynn's timely investigation highlights scientific studies grounded in publicly gathered data and probes the rhetoric these studies employ.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, pharma, and biopharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2016 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Three natural science professors win TJ Park Science Fellowship
Professor Jung-Min Kee (Department of Chemistry, UNIST), Professor Kyudong Choi (Department of Mathematical Sciences, UNIST), and Professor Kwanpyo Kim (Department of Physics, UNIST) are the recipients of the Cheong-Am (TJ Park) Science Fellowship of the year 2016.

Read More: Science News and Science Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.