More than genes and cells: drug discovery in the ECM.

Drug Discovery World. 2013/14 Winter:65-70.

More than genes and cells: drug discovery in the ECM.

Bains, W.

Abstract

Abstract:

Drug discovery in the last few decades has focused on the cellular and genetic mechanisms of disease. This has been very successful in cancer, which is a disease of somatic genetics, and moderately successful elsewhere. But the declining productivity of pharmaceutical and biotechnology investment in drug discovery and development suggests that we should be alert to other approaches. One is to look outside the cell, at the extracellular superstructure of the body. Once viewed as an inert structure that is just the biological equivalent of a petri dish, the extracellular milieu is now being seen as a therapeutic target, especially for diseases of old age. Importantly, targeting the scaffold of the body might be a much faster route to treatment for some conditions than attempting to find, and fix, underlying cellular or genetic aetiology of disease.