A group of U.S. scientists says it has successfully tested a prototype “Connectivity Map” — a high-tech computer program that uses unique genetic patterns as “search words” to link up specific illnesses with the drugs that might treat them.
The achievement has already yielded intriguing insights into cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, says a team reporting in the Sept. 29 issue of Science.
Someday, researchers around the world could use this genetic search engine to speed up drug discovery and gain a broader understanding of disease, the study authors said.
“It’s an electronic library — it helps you understand what genes are present in disease and how those genes can be affected by various ‘perturbations’ — medications or other substances,” explained Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society.
I need to read this a few more times, but what a neat concept…