wired.com - 7 days ago
Big Pharma Buys Into Crowdsourcing for Drug Discovery
Huntington’s disease is brutal in its simplicity.
The disorder, which slowly bulldozes your ability to control your body, starts with just a single mutation, in the gene for huntingtin protein. That tweak tacks an unwelcome glob of glutamines—extra amino acids—onto the protein, turning it into a destroyer that attacks neurons. Huntington’s simplicity is exciting, because theoretically, it means you could treat it with a single drug targeted at that errant protein. But in the 24 years since scientists discovered it the gene for huntingtin, the search for suitable drugs has come up empty. This century’s riches of genetic and chemical data seem like it should have sped up research, but so far, the drug pipeline is more faucet than fire hydrant. Part of the problem is simply that drug design is hard . But many researchers point to the systems of paywalls and patents that lock up data, slowing the flow of information.
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