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Genome Med. 2012 Jan 27;4(1):3. doi: 10.1186/gm302.

Recycling side-effects into clinical markers for drug repositioning.

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Joint IRB-BSC Program in Computational Biology, Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) Barcelona, c/Baldiri Reixac 10-12, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.


Side-effects are the unintended consequence of therapeutic treatments, but they can also be seen as valuable read-outs of drug effects in humans; these effects are difficult to infer or predict from pre-clinical models. Indeed, some studies suggest that drugs with similar side-effect profiles may also share therapeutic properties through related mechanisms of action. A recent publication exploits this concept to systematically investigate new indications for already marketed drugs, and presents a strategy to get the most out of the tiny portion of chemicals that have proved to be effective and safe.

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