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Large-scale identification and analysis of suppressive drug interactions
Date:4/24/2014

TORONTO Baker's yeast is giving scientists a better understanding of drug interactions, which are a major cause of hospitalization and illness world-wide.

When two or more medications are taken at the same time, one can suppress or enhance the effectiveness of the other. Similarly, one drug may magnify the toxicity of another. These types of interactions are a major cause of illness and hospitalization. However, there are severe practical limits on the practical scope of drug studies in humans. Limits come in part from ethics and in part from the staggering expense. Because of the vast number of combinations of different drugs that might be prescribed together in the same patient, drug interactions in patients are not extensively studied, even in the process of reviewing new drugs for approval.

This limitation has caused researchers to turn to simpler model organisms in which to study drug interactions, enabling systematic study of drug interactions at relatively low cost, according toresearchers at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. Dr. Frederick Roth and international colleagues published their findings after testing drugs on the simple yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, also known as brewer's yeast or baker's yeast.

Surprising effect

"Baker's yeast is a wonderful tool for this purpose," says Dr. Roth. "Many aspects of both yeast and human genomes have remained the same since they diverged from a common ancestor around one billion years ago. When a specific combination of drugs has a surprising effect on yeast growth there is no guarantee that it will do the same thing tohuman cells. But it does give us a general idea of how often drugs are able to enhance or suppress each other's effectiveness." Dr. Roth is a Senior Investigator at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum and a Professor at the University of Toronto's Donnelly Centre. He also holds a Canada Excellence Research Ch
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Contact: Polly Thompson
pthompson@lunenfeld.ca
416-586-4800 x2046
Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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