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A critique of the molecular target-based drug discovery paradigm based on principles of metabolic control: Advantages of pathway-based discovery

Paper ID Volume ID Publish Year Pages File Format Full-Text
31931 44856 2008 9 PDF Available
Title
A critique of the molecular target-based drug discovery paradigm based on principles of metabolic control: Advantages of pathway-based discovery
Abstract

Contemporary drug discovery and development (DDD) is dominated by a molecular target-based paradigm. Molecular targets that are potentially important in disease are physically characterized; chemical entities that interact with these targets are identified by ex vivo high-throughput screening assays, and optimized lead compounds enter testing as drugs. Contrary to highly publicized claims, the ascendance of this approach has in fact resulted in the lowest rate of new drug approvals in a generation. The primary explanation for low rates of new drugs is attrition, or the failure of candidates identified by molecular target-based methods to advance successfully through the DDD process. In this essay, I advance the thesis that this failure was predictable, based on modern principles of metabolic control that have emerged and been applied most forcefully in the field of metabolic engineering. These principles, such as the robustness of flux distributions, address connectivity relationships in complex metabolic networks and make it unlikely a priori that modulating most molecular targets will have predictable, beneficial functional outcomes. These same principles also suggest, however, that unexpected therapeutic actions will be common for agents that have any effect (i.e., that complexity can be exploited therapeutically). A potential operational solution (pathway-based DDD), based on observability rather than predictability, is described, focusing on emergent properties of key metabolic pathways in vivo. Recent examples of pathway-based DDD are described. In summary, the molecular target-based DDD paradigm is built on a naïve and misleading model of biologic control and is not heuristically adequate for advancing the mission of modern therapeutics. New approaches that take account of and are built on principles described by metabolic engineers are needed for the next generation of DDD.

Keywords
Drug discovery and development; Pathway-based discovery; Metabolic flux analysis; Exploiting complexity
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A critique of the molecular target-based drug discovery paradigm based on principles of metabolic control: Advantages of pathway-based discovery
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Publisher
Database: Elsevier - ScienceDirect
Journal: Metabolic Engineering - Volume 10, Issue 1, January 2008, Pages 1–9
Authors
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Subjects
Physical Sciences and Engineering Chemical Engineering Bioengineering
Get Full-Text Now
Don't Miss Today's Special Offer
Price was $35.95
You save - $31
Price after discount Only $4.95
100% Money Back Guarantee
Full-text PDF Download
Online Support
Any Questions? feel free to contact us