Here’s a new platform for target validation, a collaboration between GSK, the Wellcome Trust/Sanger folks, and the EMBL. The idea behind the Centre for Therapeutic Target Validation, according to the press release, is to provide a central location for data on connections between genetic sequences, tissues, and human disease. That’s going to run to a lot of data, for sure, since that is (and has been) an area of great interest, one that every new molecular biology technique gets applied to very quickly.
Putting in a molecular target will give you a list of human diseases that have been correlated with it, sorted into categories of known genetic mutations, RNA expression studies, known drugs, pathways, a literature-searching score, animal model studies, and more. You can run the searches in the other direction, too, putting in a disease and seeing what molecular targets have been associated with it, etc. From what I can see, the database has had a great deal of work put into it, and it’s certainly going to have a lot more on the way. As always, you’ll have to make your own calls about when a target has really been validated or not, but this will let you see how much has already been reported, and where the literature seems to concentrate.
That means, too, that if you put something in and find little or nothing that you’re either wandering in the wilderness or you’re on to something that no one else has ever realized – which is always the situation in science. Distinguishing between those two is a problem for which no database has yet been invented!