Thursday, January 4, 2007

130, 483, 268... BINGO!

Several publications tried to answer this question: How many drug targets are there?

The latest proposition I have seen says 324 drug targets for all approved therapeutic drugs. Others said 120, 218, 268, 273, 483 and even 14000 (revised to 6000).

268 or 273... who cares?

The 324-guys clearly say why it is useful to count drug targets.

If we are to develop predictive methods to identify potential new drug targets, it is essential that we establish with confidence the number, characteristics and biological diversity of targets of approved drugs.

I agree that if you want to find something new you must now what is old and what it is exactly you are looking for. But is it essential that we establish with confidence the number? I do not know, giving an exact number is nice for your paper however.

How come different numbers are the results of counting the same things?

They did not count exactly the same thing. Different definitions of druggable targets were used, some only counted targets of approved drugs, others counted targets of experimental drugs as well.

Can you actually establish with confidence the number? Sure... If you give a solid definition and look at what is known presently you can establish with confidence a number. I think all numbers were established with confidence at the time, the numbers are just different. All papers say what elements they want to count in wich collection and they did that, and I think they are able to do 1, 2, 3 etc.


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Anonymous said...