Most of us take prescription drugs — drugs that, by law, must be prescribed by a doctor — at some point in our lives. If all goes well, the drug works for you as it's supposed to. But there's no “magic bullet,” or drug that works the same for everyone without any risks or side effects. A side effect is basically an unintended occurrence that results from taking a drug. Side effects can be good or bad, depending on how you use the drug.
Sometimes the cure can be worse than the disease. Pharmaceutical drugs are known for their potential side effects, and an important aspect of personalized medicine is to tailor therapies to individuals to reduce the chances of adverse events.
Now researchers from North Carolina State University have updated an extensive toxicology database so that it can be used to track information about therapeutic drugs and their unintentional toxic effects.
“Environmental science actually shares a common goal with drug makers: to improve the prediction of chemical toxicity,” says Dr. Allan Peter Davis, lead author of a paper on the work and the biocuration project manager of the Comparative Toxicogenomics Database (CTD) in NC State's Department of Biological Sciences.
The scientific literature contains vast information about the adverse effects of therapeutic drugs. But collecting, organizing and making sense of that published information is a daunting task. NC State's CTD team, which historically focused on environmental chemicals, …