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NIH Launches Program to Explore ‘Druggable Genes’

By Rhonda Reinhart featured image Adam Voorhes

According to the National Institutes of Health, medications could alter the activities of as many as 3,000 genes — but only 10 percent of those genes have been successfully targeted by FDA-approved therapies. With the launch of a new program that is part of a project known as Illuminating the Druggable Genome, NIH researchers will explore understudied genes that potentially could be targeted by new drugs.

“We have a gap in the drug development pipeline between what gene activities we know could be modified by medication and what currently is targeted,” says  James M. Anderson, of the NIH. “By focusing on understudied genes, we hope to find potential targets for medications to treat or cure some of our most burdensome diseases — and then share what we learn so that all can build on this knowledge.”

As part of the program, the NIH will create a centralized information repository that the scientific community can use to build on the findings.