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

The National Cancer Institute 3D Structure Database

URL:dtp.nci.nih.gov/docs/3d_database/dis3d.html
  • 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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*The opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s) and should not be construed as reflecting the viewpoints of the publisher, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., the publishing house, or employees and affiliates thereof.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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