There are thousands of genes in the human genome that all have different purposes. At least 3,000 of these genes are known to express proteins that can be altered by different medications, however, the FDA has only approved drugs that target around 10 percent of these genes. That means that there are still thousands of genes that have not been thoroughly studied that, with the help of the right medication, could be targeted to help improve human health. The National Institutes of Health Common Fund has awarded 8 U.S. institutions $5.8 million for a new collaborative three-year program called Illuminating the Druggable Genome (IDG) that will study different genes and their potential to be modified by different medicines.
(Image courtesy of Wikimedia)
There are 8 institutions that have been chosen to participate in this collaboration which will all receive the NIH grant:
- Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, NY - $621,321
- Assemble, organize and visualize data collected from the four gene families.
- Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX - $310,762
- Gather data about dynamics of nuclear receptor activation and crosstalk with other transcription factors (TFs) under different signaling events.
- University of California, San Francisco - $325,876
- Further a unique genetic interaction technology to facilitate the unveiling of the functions of the poorly characterized members of the human kinome.
- University of New Mexico, Albuquerque - $2,098,402
- Link disease, pathway, protein, gene, chemical, bioactivity, drug discovery and clinical information elements from databases, literature, patents and other documents in the Data Organizing Core "Target Central" Resource Database.
- University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill - $409,548
- Isolate and analyze protein kinases from cell lines, tissues and tumors assayed in a single mass spectrometry run using Multiplexed Inhibitor Beads (MIBs).
- Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston - $453,677
- Study the genes in Zebrafish by mutating some and studying the differences.
- Yale University, New Haven, CT - $343,406
- Study methods to develop new methods to identify functional modulators of cationic ionotropic neurotransmitter receptors.
- J. David Gladstone Institutes, San Francisco, CA - $506,150
- Discover new functions of old genes and identify unique physiology for genes for which there is limited or no knowledge of their function.
*Data collected from the NIH RePORTER.
(Image courtesy of Wikmedia)
The IDG program will allow researchers at these 8 institutions to study these genes to see hoe they can be modified by medicines to treat different diseases and disorders. The focus of the program will be on studying genes in the four important druggable families of nuclear receptors, ion channels, protein kinasese, and G-protein coupled receptors (GPRCs).
James M. Anderson, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the NIH Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives, said that “we have a gap in the drug development pipeline between what gene activities we know could be modified by medication and what currently is targeted. By focusing on understudied genes, we hope to find potential targets for medications to treat or cure some of our most burdensome diseases—and then share what we learn so that all can build on this knowledge."
Researchers will explore these so far uncharacterized genes and share their finding with the scientific community so others will be able to use their findings to further both research and clinical translation. With further research into these genes, there is the possibility that new drug targets can be developed that, once they become FDA-approved, will be able to treat more diseases.
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Baylor College of Medicine (in association with Texas Medical Center) and University of California, San Francisco are all top ranked research institutions. Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. produces annual BioResearch Product Faire™ events at these three institutions that give laboratory supply companies the chance to meet with active researchers in a fun and professional environment where the researchers are actively considering new products to help with their work. Visit the link below to learn about our more than 60 vendor shows at institutions around the U.S. happening in 2015.