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University of Alberta researcher unveils world's largest drug database

Until the 1980s, most of our knowledge about drugs and drug targets could fit into a few encyclopedic books. But with the recent explosion in biological and chemical knowledge, that information is now scattered over thousands of textbooks, subscription databases and print journals. Until now. Thanks to the work by University of Alberta researchers, this previously inaccessible drug information is now consolidated and available freely online.

Dr. David Wishart, from the departments of Computing Science and Biological Sciences and the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, first began working on an online, interactive database as a teaching tool to help his pharmacy students learn more about the molecular details of different drugs. Wanting to develop one source that offers a broad scope of information, Wishart and his team created DrugBank, the world's largest and most complete resource on drugs and drug targets. DrugBank contains detailed chemical, pharmaceutical, medical and molecular biological information on more than 3000 drug targets and 4100 approved or experimental drugs products.

This one-stop-shop allows pharmacists, physicians, drug researchers and the general public to find out just about everything they need to know about a drug or a drug target. "There is no other resource quite like it," says Wishart. "With DrugBank you're never more than a mouse-click away from finding an answer--whether you're a patient, a pharmacist, a doctor or a scientist." DrugBank provides more than 80 data fields for each drug including brand names, chemical structures, protein and DNA sequences, links to relevant Internet sites, prescription information and detailed patient information.

As patients take more active roles in their own care, they can locate more detailed information without searching through scientific literature to find it. For example, if you search for "acetaminophen," on the site, you will find 197 brand names for products and 26 brand
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Contact: Phoebe Dey
phoebe.dey@ualberta.ca
780-492-0437
University of Alberta
4-Jan-2006


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