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GeneGo Gets SBIR Grant to Develop Nicotine Addiction Informatics Tool

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – GeneGo will use a $120,000 grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to develop a systems biology database and analysis platform that researchers can use in research aimed at understanding, treating, and preventing nicotine addiction.

GeneGo plans to use the Small Business Innovation Research grant to develop a research platform that will include a knowledge-base, data analysis tools, and predictive models to support scientists studying addiction, dependence, smoking cessation, and tobacco/nicotine withdrawal.

The company plans to develop a database and systems biology toolset aimed specifically at the pathways involved in nicotine addiction and withdrawal, mutations, and sequence heterogeneity in genes that affect patient responses, evaluation of new drug targets, therapeutic strategies, and biomarkers for nicotine addiction.

"A holistic understanding of the complex biological pathways involved in the pharmacological and addictive effects of nicotine is needed to better understand and treat the causes of addiction and symptoms of withdrawal to help those who want to quit be successful," Richard Brennan, GeneGo's director of toxicology and principal investigator on the grant, said in an statement.

The system GeneGo plans to develop will use its MetaCore product to "gather existing knowledge and data to reconstruct these pathways and make them accessible to researchers and clinicians working in a variety of areas related to this persistent problem," Brennan added.

According to NIDA, the GeneGo platform and database will include a comprehensive disease ontology and database of associations between genes, their protein products, and predisposition to drug abuse; a collection of publicly available systems biology data sets including gene expression, proteomics, and metabolomics; a set of prebuilt maps related to drug dependency; and computational tools for analyzing novel compounds for their potential for treating abuse and dependency.

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