|Drugs are substances that exert some kind of physiological or biochemical effect on our bodies. They may be single compounds or mixtures, and their effects may be beneficial or harmful. All drugs interact with specific targets, which are usually proteins but in some cases DNA or RNA. Drugs work either by stimulating or blocking the activity of their targets. Today, more systematic approaches are used. High-throughput screening is used to test thousands of potential targets with thousands of diverse chemical compounds in order to identify promising lead compounds (chemical entities that interact with targets and therefore have potential as drugs). The alternative method of rational drug design involves the design and synthesis of compounds based on the known structure of either a specific target or one of its natural ligands. The results of the Human Genome Project and human pathogen genome projects provide many new potential drug targets. For this reason, target identification must be followed by target validation, which confirms the likelihood that interfering with the target protein will impact on the disease.
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