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University of Alberta researcher unveils world's largest drug database

name mixtures that contain it. DrugBank will also tell you how acetaminophen works, its side effects, how it's absorbed, how it's metabolized and how to take it.

For biologists and chemists, DrugBank supports a wide range of sophisticated searches and queries. Combined with DrugBank's visualization software, these tools allow scientists to easily search for new drug targets, to compare drug structures, to study drug mechanisms and to discover new drug leads.

"DrugBank is the first database we're aware of that brings the latest data from the Human Genome Project together with detailed chemical information about drugs and drug products," said Wishart. The diversity of the data types combined with the fact that the data were mostly paper-bound made the assembly of DrugBank both difficult and time-consuming. More than a dozen textbooks, several hundred journal articles, nearly 30 different electronic databases and at least 20 in-house or web-based programs were individually searched, accessed, compared, written or run over the course of four years.

DrugBank is also playing an important role in another scientific endeavor--The Human Metabolome Project. As lead researcher on this Genome Canada effort, Wishart's goal is to guide the first group in the world to complete the human metabolome. That aim includes a database of all the metabolites in body fluids, such as urine and serum. In addition to the usual chemicals that the body makes (metabolites) many prescription drugs (xenobiotics) are also found in these body fluids. "Drugs are molecules that appear in the serum and blood, but are not normal. We needed to be able to show what is not normal in order to help uncover what is normal. Since we needed to acquire all of this information for our project, we wanted to share this with the rest of the world as well," said Lori Querengesser, Genome Prairie Project manager.


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Contact: Phoebe Dey
phoebe.dey@ualberta.ca
780-492-0437
University of Alberta
4-Jan-2006


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