Motivation

De novo drug development is a long and expensive process that poses significant challenges from the design to the preclinical testing, making the introduction into the market slow and difficult. This limitation paved the way to the development of drug repurposing, which consists in the re-usage of already approved drugs, developed for other therapeutic indications. Although several efforts have been carried out in the last decade in order to achieve clinically relevant drug repurposing predictions, the amount of repurposed drugs that have been employed in actual pharmacological therapies is still limited. On one hand, mechanistic approaches, including profile-based and network-based methods, exploit the wealth of data about drug sensitivity and perturbational profiles as well as disease transcriptomics profiles. On the other hand, chemocentric approaches, including structure-based methods, take into consideration the intrinsic structural properties of the drugs and their molecular targets. The poor integration between mechanistic and chemocentric approaches is one of the main limiting factors behind the poor translatability of drug repurposing predictions into the clinics.

Results

In this work, we introduce DREAM, an R package aimed to integrate mechanistic and chemocentric approaches in a unified computational workflow. DREAM is devoted to the druggability evaluation of pathological conditions of interest, leveraging robust drug repurposing predictions. In addition, the user can derive optimized sets of drugs putatively suitable for combination therapy. In order to show the functionalities of the DREAM package, we report a case study on atopic dermatitis.

Availability and implementation

DREAM is freely available at https://github.com/fhaive/dream. The docker image of DREAM is available at: https://hub.docker.com/r/fhaive/dream.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.