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Lab Reports
March 5, 2008

Drug Targeting

JAMA. 2008;299(9):1008. doi:10.1001/jama.299.9.1008-a

An analysis of the properties of genes and proteins that serve as targets for nearly a thousand drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration identified characteristics that are common among effective and high-revenue medications. The analysis was conducted by researchers from Columbia University in New York City and the University of Chicago Medical Center (Yao L and Rzhetsky A. Genome Res. 2008;18[2]:206-213).

The researchers found that 62% of successful drugs have only one target. “Connectivity” of the target also appears to be important—effective targets interact with about 9 other genes or proteins. Successful drugs also tend to bridge 2 or more clusters of interacting molecules. Also, limited variation of a target is best, so that the drug works the same way in most individuals. The best targets also are primarily expressed in one specific tissue.

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