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NIH creates nationwide network of molecular libraries screening centers

e NIH and co-administered by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) on behalf of NIH. The operation of the network will be overseen by a project team made up of staff from NIH's 27 institutes and centers.

Data generated from the high-throughput assays conducted at the screening centers will be made available to researchers in both the public and private sectors through the PubChem database (http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/), created and managed by the National Library of Medicine at NIH. The network's first screening center, the NIH Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC), was established in June 2004 by the NHGRI's intramural program to jumpstart the roadmap effort. Another critical component of the network is the Molecular Libraries Small Molecule Repository, located in San Francisco at Discovery Partners International, a drug discovery research firm. The repository houses the collection of small molecules that will be used for screening by the centers. Already, the repository has acquired nearly 100,000 compounds that are being utilized by the NCGC.

"This new Screening Centers Network will be the engine of discovery in the NIH Roadmap Molecular Libraries initiative," said NIMH Director Thomas R. Insel, M.D. "Using the compounds from the Molecular Libraries Small Molecule Repository and supported by the informatics capabilities of PubChem, the MLSCN should provide researchers with many new chemical tools to explore how cells function at the molecular level."

"This collaborative screening effort will enable academic and government researchers to contribute in a much more vigorous way to an understanding of the mechanisms of disease, and even to the identification of potential targets for new therapies. Central to this effort are the databases supporting the network, which will allow us to tie together data from diverse fields of science in ways not previously brought to bear on importa
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