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Table of Contents
Vol. 77, No. 2, 2006
Issue release date: May 2006
Section title: Commentary
Free Access
Pharmacology 2006;77:85–92

The Heart of Drug Discovery and Development: Rational Target Selection

Spector R.a · Vesell E.S.b
aRobert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, N.J., and Harvard-MIT Program in the Health Sciences, Cambridge, Mass., and bDepartment of Pharmacology, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, Pa., USA
email Corresponding Author

Elliot S. Vesell, M.D.

Department of Pharmacology, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine

500 University Drive

Hershey, PA 17033 (USA)

Tel. +1 717 531 8285, Fax +1 717 531 5013, E-Mail esvl@psu.edu

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Critical to the discovery and development of drugs and vaccines is the rational selection of biochemical, immunologic or molecular targets. To understand the rationale for target selection, we review strengths and weaknesses of the four main approaches: whole animal disease models; molecular targeting; epidemiology/observation studies, and genomics. After classifying diseases into those with a relatively stable pathophysiology (e.g., hypertension and gout) versus those with an unstable pathophysiology (e.g., AIDS and influenza) to aid in understanding target selection, we provide examples of successful and unsuccessful selection of drug and vaccine targets, focusing on the molecular and epidemiological/observational approaches. We discuss the reasons that molecular targeting has led to successful control of many diseases, whereas the epidemiological/observational approach has had a checkered history. We also assess the potential power of the genomic approach, specifically the curative versus controlling/preventive strategies. With combined genetic and molecular approaches and judicious use of whole animal models and properly performed epidemiology/observation studies to select the appropriate targets, the future for controlling, preventing and even curing many diseases is very bright indeed.

© 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel

Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Commentary

Received: March 16, 2006
Accepted: March 23, 2006
Published online: June 02, 2006
Issue release date: May 2006

Number of Print Pages: 8
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 5

ISSN: 0031-7012 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0313 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/PHA

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Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or, in the case of photocopying, direct payment of a specified fee to the Copyright Clearance Center.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
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