American Journal of PharmacoGenomics vol:2 issue:2 pages:113-27
So far, antifungal drug discovery seems to have benefited little from the enormous advances in the field of genomics in the last decade. Although it has become clear that traditional drug screening is not delivering the long-awaited novel potent antifungals, little has been reported on efforts to use novel genome-based methodologies in the quest for new drugs acting on human pathogenic fungi. Although the market for a novel systemic and even topical broad-spectrum antifungal appears considerable, many large pharmaceutical companies have decided to scale back their activities in antifungal drug discovery. Here we report on some of the recent advances in genomics-based technologies that will allow us not only to identify and validate novel drug targets but hopefully also to discover active therapeutic agents. Novel drug targets have already been found by 'en masse' gene inactivation strategies (e.g. using antisense RNA inhibition). In addition, genome expression profiling using DNA microarrays helps to assign gene function but also to understand better the mechanism of action of known drugs (e.g. itraconazole) and to elucidate how new drug candidates work. No doubt, we have a long way to go just to catch up with the advances made in other therapeutic areas, but all tools are at hand to derive practical benefits from the genomics revolution. The next few years should prove a very exciting time in the history of antifungal drug discovery.