First 'druggable' gene kit from Qiagen

Related tags Drug discovery Dna Qiagen

Qiagen of the Netherlands has started shipping a set of RNA
interference (RNAi) reagents that correspond to the 5,000 or so
genes in the human genome thought most likely to be viable targets
for drug discovery.

The library contains two small interfering RNA (siRNA) strands for each of these 5,000 genes. Researchers will be able to use it for a number of drug discovery applications, including the validation of drug targets.

This is the first siRNA library that addresses just these 'druggable' genes and leaves out those which are unlikely to be drug targets. This means that researchers working in drug discovery have a cheaper, more focused alternative to the currently-available siRNA sets corresponding to the entire human genome.

For example, the library can be used to screen these 5,000 genes to see which are involved in a particular disease process. In addition, scientists can compare the effect of a test compound on a cell to find out which protein is inhibited by a particular compound. Using this method scientists can screen to see which gene, when inhibited, changes the cell in the same way as adding the drug.

Qiagen claims to be the first to reach the marketplace with the druggable siRNA library, although rival sets are in development from the likes of Ambion and Cenix Bioscience.

"The field of RNAi has the potential to revolutionise future drug discovery, and chemically synthesised siRNA is the tool of choice for pharmaceutical and biotech companies who employ high-throughput RNAi screening approaches for target validation,"​ said Patrick Weiss, vice president of gene silencing and RNA Technologies at Qiagen.

The set includes siRNAs targeting kinases, proteases, G-protein-coupled receptors, oncogenes and tumour suppressors, nuclear receptors, structural proteins, cell-surface receptors, ion channels, transcription factors, cytokines, cell-cycle control genes, genes involved in apoptosis, hypothetical open reading frames derived from the human genome project, and other potential sequences for small molecule or nucleic acid therapeutics.

One of Qiagen's first customers for the product is the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGEN). Spyro Mousses, the director of cancer drug development at the institute​ said that it has developed new tools for using high throughput RNAi to carry out functional genomics and chemogenomics experiments, "but application of these technologies for genome wide studies has been limited by the lack of very large-scale human siRNA libraries."

Qiagen​ makes no claim to any discoveries made using the set, giving researchers complete freedom to use them in any way they choose.

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