SAMJ: South African Medical Journal
On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
WARNER, Digby F and MIZRAHI, Valerie. Approaches to target identification and validation for tuberculosis drug discovery: A University of Cape Town perspective. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2012, vol.102, n.6, pp. 457-461. ISSN 2078-5135.
Tuberculosis (TB) disproportionately affects a few high-burden countries including South Africa. In these regions, basic TB research is rare, endemic countries being valued primarily as sites for drug trials and clinical studies. Our basic mycobacterial research focuses on current approaches to drug target identification and validation within the context of international trends in TB drug discovery. Increased funding for TB drug development globally prompted a significant shift in the composition of drug discovery consortia, with academic laboratories assuming a major role in collaboration with industrial partners. This hybrid model holds promise for the expansion of local programmes, especially where actively supported by government. However, the application of industry-standard business practices to research projects involving biology and chemistry expertise demands a greater appreciation of the differences between a chemically, versus biologically, validated drug target, and of the factors informing these differences.