[BiO BB] drug from bioinfo tools

Vidya Dhote vidya_dhote at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 14 23:35:52 EDT 2001

Dear Dr Ahmed Rebai,

This may be one of the examples you can use. There
might be more...

(From Scientific American)
An early example of the utility of bioinformatics is
cathepsin K, an enzyme that might turn out to be an
important target for treating osteoporosis, a
crippling disease caused by the breakdown of bone. In
1993 researchers at SmithKline Beecham, based in
Philadelphia, asked scientists at Human Genome
Sciences to help them analyze some genetic material
they had isolated from the osteoclast cells of people
with bone tumors. (Osteoclasts are cells that break
down bone in the normal course of bone replenishment;
they are thought to be overactive in individuals with

Human Genome Sciences scientists sequenced the sample
and conducted database homology searches to look for
matches would give them a clue to the proteins that
the sample's gene sequences encoded. Once they found
near-matches for the sequences, they carried out
further analyses and discovered that one sequence in
particular was overexpressed by the osteoclast cells
and that it matched those of a previously identified
class of molecules: cathepsins. 

For SmithKline Beecham, that exercise in
bioinformatics yielded in just weeks a promising drug
target that standard laboratory experiments could not
have found without years and a pinch of luck. Company
researchers are now trying to find a potential drug
that blocks the cathepsin K target.


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