Chemical genomics involves generating large collections of small molecules and systematically using them to change the way cells in the body function. In the March issue of Nature Genetics, Todd Golub and colleagues report that they have developed this approach into a general strategy for drug design. First, they identified a set of genes that switch on or off when one type of leukemia cells is converted back to being normal cells of the immune system. Using this pattern of gene activity as a guide, they were able to predict correctly which 8 out of 1,739 drugs could promote the appearance of normal characteristics in the leukemia cells. This work does not provide an immediate cure for leukemia, but their discovery does mean that enormous numbers of chemical compounds can now be tested for their biological effects, using a single, largely automated technique.
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Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Genetics press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza
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