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Sci. Signal., 22 July 2008
Vol. 1, Issue 29, p. re8
Host-Directed Drug Targeting of Factors Hijacked by Pathogens
Anita Schwegmann and
Division of Immunology, Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine (IIDMM), Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town and The International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), Cape Town, South Africa.
Gloss: Infectious diseases are a global health problem and have reached epidemic levels in developing countries. The current strategy for managing infectious diseases is to target unique biological processes or enzymes within pathogens in order to kill them. A serious disadvantage of this pathogen-directed drug targeting strategy has been the development of drug resistance and the resurgence of once-contained infectious diseases. Pathogens, especially those that reside within cells, hijack and subvert various host factors for their own growth and survival. Blocking interactions between pathogens and host factors that are essential for pathogen invasion, growth, and survival is a promising strategy to combat infectious diseases. In this Review with 1 figure, 1 table, and 124 references, we discuss the emergence of a drug discovery strategy that focuses on targeting propathogen host factors. We briefly review recent discoveries in this area, the strategies involved in identifying host drug targets, and the therapeutic modes of action of host-targeted drugs.