Drug discovery and GWA

less than 1 minute read

Gene Expression’s p-ter makes an interesting point about weak genome-wide associations and drug development.

Any doctor knows where I'm going with this: one of the best-selling groups of drugs in the world currently are statins, which inhibit the activity of (the gene product of) HMGCR. Of course, statins have already been invented, so this is something of a cherry-picked example, but my guess is that there are tens of additional examples like this waiting to be discovered in the wealth of genome-wide association study data. Figuring out which GWAS hits are promising drug targets will take time, effort, and a good deal of luck; in my opinion, this is the major lesson from Decode (which is not all that surprising a lesson)--drug development is really hard.

Yes, figuring out gene functional networks is the hard part; also, how alleles may interact in unexpected ways with different genetic backgrounds.