PregOMICS-Leveraging systems biology and bioinformatics for drug repurposing in maternal-child health

Goldstein, J. A.; Bastarache, L. A.; Denny, J. C.; Pulley, J. M.; Aronoff, D. M.

Am J Reprod Immunol. 2018 May 5; e12971


Obstetric diseases remain underserved and understudied. Drug repurposing-utilization of a drug whose use is accepted in one condition for a different condition-could represent a rapid and low-cost way to identify new therapies that are known to be safe. In diseases of pregnancy, the known safety profile is a strong additional incentive. We describe the techniques and steps used in the use of 'omics data for drug repurposing. We illustrate these techniques using case studies of published drug repurposing projects. We provide a set of available databases with low barriers to entry which investigators can use to perform their own projects. The promise of 'omics techniques is unbiased screening, either of all drug targets or of all patients using particular drugs to find which are likely to alter disease risk or progression. However, we caution that reproducibility across the underlying studies, and thus the drugs suggested for repurposing, can be poor. We suggest that improved nosology, for example correlating patient clinical conditions with placental pathology, could yield more robust associations. We conclude that 'omics-driven drug repurposing represents a potential fruitful path to discover new, safe treatments of obstetric diseases.

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