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Pharmacogenomics. 2000 Nov;1(4):433-43.

Transgenic gene knock-outs: functional genomics and therapeutic target selection.

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  • 1Glaxo Wellcome Research & Development, Gunnels Wood Road, Stevenage, Herts, SG1 2NY, UK. SH7196@glaxowellcome.co.uk


The completion of the first draft of the human genome presents both a tremendous opportunity and enormous challenge to the pharmaceutical industry since the whole community, with few exceptions, will soon have access to the same pool of candidate gene sequences from which to select future therapeutic targets. The commercial imperative to select and pursue therapeutically relevant genes from within the overall content of the genome will be particularly intense for those gene families that currently represent the chemically tractable or 'drugable' gene targets. As a consequence the emphasis within exploratory research has shifted towards the evaluation and adoption of technology platforms that can add additional value to the gene selection process, either through functional studies or direct/indirect measures of disease alignment e.g., genetics, differential gene expression, proteomics, tissue distribution, comparative species data etc. The selection of biological targets for the development of potential new medicines relies, in part, on the quality of the in vivo biological data that correlates a particular molecular target with the underlying pathophysiology of a disease. Within the pharmaceutical industry, studies employing transgenic animals and, in particular, animals with specific gene deletions are playing an increasingly important role in the therapeutic target gene selection, drug candidate selection and product development phases of the overall drug discovery process. The potential of phenotypic information from gene knock-outs to contribute to a high-throughput target selection/validation strategy has hitherto been limited by the resources required to rapidly generate and characterise a large number of knock-out transgenics in a timely fashion. The offerings of several companies that provide an opportunity to overcome these hurdles, albeit at a cost, are assessed with respect to the strategic business needs of the pharmaceutical industry.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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