One of the most pressing issues facing the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry is the tremendous dropout rate of lead drug candidates. Over the last two decades, several new genomic technologies have been developed in hopes of addressing the issues of target identification and lead candidate optimization. Gene expression microarray is one of these technologies and this review describes the four main formats, which are currently available: (a) cDNA; (b) oligonucleotide; (c) electrokinetic; and (d) fiberoptic. Many of these formats have been developed with the goal of screening large numbers of genes. Recently, a high-throughput array format has been developed where a large number of samples can be assayed using arrays in parallel. In addition, focusing on gene expression may be only one avenue in preventing lead candidate failure. Proteomics or the study of protein expression may also play a role. Two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (2-DE) coupled with mass spectroscopy has been the most widely accepted format to study protein expression. However, protein microarrays are now being developed and modified to a high-throughput screening format. Examples of several gene and protein expression studies as they apply to drug discovery and development are reviewed. These studies often result in large data sets. Examples of how several statistical methods (principal components analysis [PCA], clustering methods, Shannon entropy, etc.) have been applied to these data sets are also described. These newer genomic and proteomic technologies and their analysis and visualization methods have the potential to make the drug discovery and development process less costly and more efficient by aiding to select better target and lead candidates.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.