Public drug library offers fertile field for researchers

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has one of the largest public drug libraries in the world. And the stockpile of more than 3,000 drugs has proven a fertile field for researchers exploring new uses for old compounds.

Exploring the stacks has revealed that itraconazole--used to treat toenail fungus--may be effective against tumors as well as macular degeneration. And the leprosy drug clofazimine may also be effective against MS and psoriasis.

"It takes 15 years and costs close to a billion dollars to develop a new drug," pharmacology professor Jun O. Liu tells the New York Times. "Why not start with compounds that already have proven safety and efficacy?"

Liu and colleagues have been building the library for seven years and say it will be done in another two. And they are providing researchers with samples of a complete set for $5,000.

- read the article from the New York Times