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September 28, 2012
EMBL Chemical Biology: Polypharmacology
Brian Shoichet is talking about the old days, 1930 to about 1985 or so. He mentions that Sir James Black called it "rational drug design" back then, which must have been a reaction to something that was considered really irrational. But these guys had a lot of advantages, which is what's leading people back to phenotypic screening. (I can see that I'll need to adjust my own presentation later today, because I'm going to be making the same point!)
His talk is mostly on this recent work, which I'll be blogging about separately soon, because there's a lot of drug discovery information in there. He's wondering as well about why polypharmacology is so pervasive - his studies are pointing that out in detail, but relating that to the old-style of drug discovery suggests that this isn't always a bug, but a feature. Hard-core target-based drug discovery is taking a bit a beating around here today, I have to say.
He's also made a very interesting point which looks to be the subject of an upcoming paper: that living systems signal in a number of time domains, and that this is reflected in ligands. You can see cases (like serotonin) where evolution has used the same ligand in a short time-domain case (ion channels) and a longer one (GPCRs). Nuclear receptors and some other classes work on even longer time scales. Some polypharmacology comes from across-time-domain effects.
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