therapeutic targets

for more effective drug

High-content screening (HCS) is part of the solution to the challenge of discovering new therapeutic targets. And functional genomics (screening to determine gene function and expression) is used to induce the overexpression or, on the contrary, extinction of specific genes in a cell. Imagine each gene as having a switch that can be turned on, off, up, or down. Depending on the position of the switch, the effects on other genes present in the cell—and ultimately, on the organism—will vary.

Screening results can be used to unlock the « door » of a disease caused by a defective gene so that therapeutic targets with which a drug molecule is going to interact can be identified. These therapeutic targets indicate the gene that must be affected for cell function to return to normal.

Parkinson’s disease, which is marked by tremors, is both chronic and progressive, and has no cure, though there are therapies that treat the symptoms of the disease. Using RNAi screening, researchers discovered a network of genes that could regulate the disposal of dysfunctional mitochondria, opening the door to new drug targets for Parkinson’s disease.

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