Science Webinar Series

Refilling the Drug Discovery Pipeline: The Role of New Technologies

Science  28 Mar 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6178, pp. 1545
DOI: 10.1126/science.343.6178.1545-c

Summary

The ultimate aim of most scientific research is the creation of therapies that will cure or extend the life of patients. In recent years, though, the flow of new drugs in the development pipeline seems to have slowed, despite increased R&D budgets and the concerted efforts of researchers. The reasons for this are hotly debated, including the suggestion that the "easy" targets have already been found, or that increasing regulatory demands are stifling progress. Another possibility is that, as a result of the proliferation of technologies intended to enable drug discovery, the basic biological questions are being overlooked or ignored. Technological development in high throughput target identification, screening, library synthesis, and validation have their place, but they are essentially just tools, and a clear understanding of the underlying biology is paramount. This webinar will take a critical look at what role technology plays in helping researchers understand molecular pathways and characterize signaling cascades, to better predict the efficacy, and potential toxicity, of new drugs.