NC State's Database Could Revolutionize Pharmaceutical Research

Dec 6, 2013

The Comparative Toxicogenomics Database can be used to track information about toxic effects of therapeutic drugs.
Credit NC State University

North Carolina State University recently beefed up its toxicology database, which could help revolutionize pharmaceutical research.

NC State's Comparitive Toxicogenomics Database already cataloged the harmful health impacts of environmental chemicals, like arsenic. Then pharmaceutical giant Pfizer collaborated with the CTD to add unintended side effects of therapeutic drugs.

Lead author Allan Peter Davis and his team at NC State read and manually coded 88-thousand papers about drugs, and added them to the database. Davis says the database now allows researchers to connect the dots between drugs and side effects.

“If we can understand how that side effect is occurring, we can then go back and tweak the drug, as say, 'Alright, we know this part of the chemical always results in hypertension or liver disease. Can we modify that part of the chemical and then make a better drug that doesn't have that side effect?’”

Allan says the database can also show interactions with genes. That could be crucial to developing personalized medicines.

The CTD received funding from the National Institutes of Health, and information from the database is available to the public.