New Technique Helps Scientists Reveal Interactions Between Genes And Drugs
Scientists have developed a new screening technique to help them look for genes that change patients' responses to cancer drugs and other medications. Researchers looking for such connections confront an enormous hunting ground of approximately 33,000 human genes. Normally their only options for mounting a search in such a vast field are either to rely on anecdotal reports of dramatically altered patient reactions, or to conduct extensive surveys of the genes for all the proteins known to interact with a given drug. The new approach lets nature and a robotic screening system do the majority of the hunting for them. In their initial test, which will be described in the August 10 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, investigators rapidly found potential connections between two chemotherapy drugs and two regions of human DNA that contain approximately 100 genes each. The study is currently available online.