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November 01, 2006 (Vol. 26, No. 19)

The National Cancer Institute 3D Structure Database

  • Much useful structural info
  • Poor access to structures
You’ve heard of PDB, probably, the 3-D crystallographic structure database for proteins, housed at Rutgers University. But, I’ll bet you probably haven’t heard of this 3-D database covering over 400,000 drugs, which dwarfs PDB’s offerings. OK, yes, drugs are a lot simpler in structure than proteins and nucleic acids, so there is that advantage, but 400,000 is a heck of a lot of structures. With the pharmaceutical industry currently mining databases for structural info on proteins and target drugs, this would seem to be a logical bookmark for anyone interested in drug design and protein-drug interactions. I was disappointed with how tough it was to visualize 3-D structures in the database, but from a research standpoint, that is a minor quibble.
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