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Re: KB note

From: Matthias Samwald <samwald@gmx.at>
Date: Mon, 26 May 2008 15:21:38 +0200
Message-ID: <9B4D87806E3D4B1EA62A621693454C86@tessellate>
To: <kc28@email.med.yale.edu>, "Tim Clark" <twclark@nmr.mgh.harvard.edu>
Cc: "M. Scott Marshall" <marshall@science.uva.nl>, <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>

> Speaking of national boundaries, I wonder if alternative medicine (e.g., 
> herbal
> medicine) would also be of interest to this community. For example, 
> Huperzine
> is a drug derived from the herb Huperzia serrata. I also wonder if there 
> are
> hypotheses regarding the study of herbs in the possible treatment of
> neurological diseases.

I would also be very motivated to help in this kind of research. 
Specifically, Huperzine A would be a very interesting use-case for our 
developments. It is a herbal compound with a history in folk medicine and is 
available OTC in most countries, yet it rivals the effectiveness of 
currently leading Alzheimer medications such as Tacrine. It also has a dual 
mode of action that does not only involve acetylcholinesterase inhibition, 
but also modulation of the NMDA receptor. The implications of this for the 
treatment of Alzheimer's are still a rather hot topic.

The integration of knowledge from traditional medicine, plant 
taxonomy/phylogeny/biochemistry and receptor binding databases (PDSP Ki 
database, IUPHAR) could lead to the identification of some extremely novel 
therapeutic strategies. Finding candidate molecules in such a way might be 
much more effective than weeding through libraries of compounds generated by 
combinatorial synthesis etc. The challenge lies in the integration of some 
very heterogenous datasets that come from vastly different disciplines, 
which is exactly the field of research where Semantic Web technologies are 
most effective.

I guess the major problem for this kind of research is that there are no 
funding programmes that span China, the US and Asia...

Matthias Samwald

DERI Galway, Ireland // Semantic Web Company, Austria
Received on Monday, 26 May 2008 13:29:16 UTC

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