“Understudied genes represent significant opportunities as novel druggable disease targets and this special issue will provide insight into a number of these genes along with tools supporting their further study.” – Professor Shawn Gomez, Special Issue Editor
Of the 3,000-4,000 human proteins that are thought to represent bona fide drug targets only 5-10% are currently targeted by FDA-approved drugs, leaving a significant gap in biological understanding and an opportunity for the identification of novel targets with potential therapeutic impact. The vast majority of these druggable proteins are found in the three most commonly targeted protein families: G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), ion channels, and protein kinases. The wide gap between the number of potentially targetable proteins and those having approved drugs exists largely due to preferential focus on the most obvious and well-studied protein targets, along with a corresponding neglect in seeking an understanding of the function or role of less recognized genes.
As a result, in 2014 the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Common Fund launched the Illuminating the Druggable Genome (IDG) Program with the goal of catalyzing research in these currently understudied proteins having significant potential as therapeutic targets impacting human health. To do this, a multi-institutional consortium was formed to develop experimental and computational tools, resources and annotation that could be utilized by the broader research community to further gain functional insight into these understudied targets.
“This special issue is timely and will showcase the advances made in Illuminating the Druggable Genome from multiple fronts.” – Professor Natarajan Kannan, Special Issue Editor
This Special Issue seeks to further gather knowledge and insight from the broader research community on any of the IDG understudied targets. Specifically, papers that provide insight into the function, potential role, phenotypic association, disease association, or other knowledge on one or more IDG targets are welcome. Papers can bring such insight either through experimental approaches and/or through the application of informatics/data-driven methodologies. Submissions describing web-based or similar informatics applications that provide or integrate knowledge facilitating research of understudied targets will also be considered. This issue will also serve as a forum to publish new chemical reagents or probes development for one or more of the IDG targets. Authors should note that studies implementing molecular dynamics should be designed appropriately, with clear consideration given to the validity of the results. Submissions that report negative data and/or challenges in illuminating some of targets are also encouraged.
Important: Only papers that provide some insight into one or more IDG targets will be approved for full submission. The list of topical understudied genes can be found at https://druggablegenome.net/IDGProteinList
To find out more and submit your abstract, please visit peerj.com/special-issues/118-druggable-genome