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Chin J Integr Med. 2012 Jul;18(7):539-42. doi: 10.1007/s11655-011-0900-2. Epub 2012 Apr 11.

Drug discovery enters a new era with multi-target intervention strategy.

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Centre for Cancer and Inflammation Research, School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong SAR, China.


In the past century, as medical research has become increasingly precise, it has become clear that the incidence and progression of many diseases involve multiple factors and pathologies; this is particularly true for the degenerative and metabolic diseases facing industrialized societies. At the same time, it becomes increasingly clear that single-target action drugs cannot effectively treat these diseases. Researchers are looking toward the chemical industry as well as traditional herbal medicines to find multi-target interventions. Thus, a new era in drug discovery has begun. Specifically, three approaches have proven effective in seeking multi-target drugs. These are: (1) designing drugs with multiple components; (2) discovering drugs through the study of synergistic compound-compound interactions in medicinal herbs or among chemical drugs and herbal components; and (3) developing drugs to tackle complex multi-component diseases. The authors conclude that there is an increasing need for multi-component remedies to treat the complex chronic diseases afflicting modern populations. Given this situation and the growing body of evidence that these new approaches are effective, multi-target intervention appears to have great potential for discovering, designing, and developing effective new drugs for today's diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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