Scientists pool information to boost understanding of drug action

November 30, 2005

A revamped international database, launched tomorrow, 1 December 2005 by The International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (IUPHAR) and hosted by the University of Edinburgh, has drawn together information on human genes that are targets for current and future medicines. The IUPHAR database http://www.iuphar-db.org/ has had a major update, following 12 years' work by 300 contributors. It is expected to be a major knowledge source for students and scientists throughout the world.

As a result of the Human Genome Project, scientists now know the human DNA codes for about 20,000-25,000 genes, each of which could be a target for the development of new medicines. However, most scientists believe that only about 10% of these genes are likely targets for the drugs of the future. More than 40% of the medicinal drugs in current use, many drugs of abuse and an estimated 20% of all future likely drug targets are members of three relatively small families of proteins: G Protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), ion channels and nuclear hormone receptors. Drugs which work through GPCRs include treatments for asthma, ulcers and heart disease.

Professor Tony Harmar, Head of the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University said: "The Human Genome Project has sparked a huge effort by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies worldwide to identify new drug targets and much of this effort has focused on the GPCRs. Our knowledge of this branch of science has advanced very rapidly and it has been difficult for scientists engaged in research in the field and in the teaching of the pharmacology - the science of drug action- to keep pace with the information explosion. The goal of the IUPHAR database is to provide information on all of the GPCRs, with information on the drugs that act on them, the targets in the body where they are found and the diseases in which they may be involved." Professor Michael Spedding, Chairman of NC-IUPHAR, commented: "The knowledge in this database is freely available to all scientists and drug discoverers throughout the world, and is a powerful tool for future research".
-end-


University of Edinburgh

Related Genes Articles from Brightsurf:

Are male genes from Mars, female genes from Venus?
In a new paper in the PERSPECTIVES section of the journal Science, Melissa Wilson reviews current research into patterns of sex differences in gene expression across the genome, and highlights sampling biases in the human populations included in such studies.

New alcohol genes uncovered
Do you have what is known as problematic alcohol use?

How status sticks to genes
Life at the bottom of the social ladder may have long-term health effects that even upward mobility can't undo, according to new research in monkeys.

Symphony of genes
One of the most exciting discoveries in genome research was that the last common ancestor of all multicellular animals already possessed an extremely complex genome.

New genes out of nothing
One key question in evolutionary biology is how novel genes arise and develop.

Good genes
A team of scientists from NAU, Arizona State University, the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, the Center for Coastal Studies in Massachusetts and nine other institutions worldwide to study potential cancer suppression mechanisms in cetaceans, the mammalian group that includes whales, dolphins and porpoises.

How lifestyle affects our genes
In the past decade, knowledge of how lifestyle affects our genes, a research field called epigenetics, has grown exponentially.

Genes that regulate how much we dream
Sleep is known to allow animals to re-energize themselves and consolidate memories.

The genes are not to blame
Individualized dietary recommendations based on genetic information are currently a popular trend.

Timing is everything, to our genes
Salk scientists discover critical gene activity follows a biological clock, affecting diseases of the brain and body.

Read More: Genes News and Genes 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.