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      Multi-Target Drugs: The Trend of Drug Research and Development

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      PLoS ONE

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          Summarizing the status of drugs in the market and examining the trend of drug research and development is important in drug discovery. In this study, we compared the drug targets and the market sales of the new molecular entities approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from January 2000 to December 2009. Two networks, namely, the target–target and drug–drug networks, have been set up using the network analysis tools. The multi-target drugs have much more potential, as shown by the network visualization and the market trends. We discussed the possible reasons and proposed the rational strategies for drug research and development in the future.

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          Most cited references 46

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          Drug-target network.

          The global set of relationships between protein targets of all drugs and all disease-gene products in the human protein-protein interaction or 'interactome' network remains uncharacterized. We built a bipartite graph composed of US Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs and proteins linked by drug-target binary associations. The resulting network connects most drugs into a highly interlinked giant component, with strong local clustering of drugs of similar types according to Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical classification. Topological analyses of this network quantitatively showed an overabundance of 'follow-on' drugs, that is, drugs that target already targeted proteins. By including drugs currently under investigation, we identified a trend toward more functionally diverse targets improving polypharmacology. To analyze the relationships between drug targets and disease-gene products, we measured the shortest distance between both sets of proteins in current models of the human interactome network. Significant differences in distance were found between etiological and palliative drugs. A recent trend toward more rational drug design was observed.
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            Natural products in drug discovery.

            Natural products have been the single most productive source of leads for the development of drugs. Over a 100 new products are in clinical development, particularly as anti-cancer agents and anti-infectives. Application of molecular biological techniques is increasing the availability of novel compounds that can be conveniently produced in bacteria or yeasts, and combinatorial chemistry approaches are being based on natural product scaffolds to create screening libraries that closely resemble drug-like compounds. Various screening approaches are being developed to improve the ease with which natural products can be used in drug discovery campaigns, and data mining and virtual screening techniques are also being applied to databases of natural products. It is hoped that the more efficient and effective application of natural products will improve the drug discovery process.
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              The PI3K pathway as drug target in human cancer.

              The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling axis impacts on cancer cell growth, survival, motility, and metabolism. This pathway is activated by several different mechanisms in cancers, including somatic mutation and amplification of genes encoding key components. In addition, PI3K signaling may serve integral functions for noncancerous cells in the tumor microenvironment. Consequently, therapeutics targeting the PI3K pathway are being developed at a rapid pace, and preclinical and early clinical studies are beginning to suggest specific strategies to effectively use them. However, the central role of PI3K signaling in a large array of diverse biologic processes raises concerns about its use in therapeutics and increases the need to develop sophisticated strategies for its use. In this review, we will discuss how PI3K signaling affects the growth and survival of tumor cells. From this vantage, we will consider how inhibitors of the PI3K signaling cascade, either alone or in combination with other therapeutics, can most effectively be used for the treatment of cancer.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                29 June 2012
                : 7
                : 6
                Lu et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
                Pages: 6
                Research Article
                Drugs and Devices
                Drug Research and Development
                Drug Discovery
                Drug Marketing
                Cardiovascular Pharmacology
                Clinical Pharmacology
                Drug Information
                Drug Interactions
                Cancer Treatment
                Chemotherapy and Drug Treatment



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