Enrique Barrajón has a Spanish and European certificate in Medical Oncology. He holds a PhD in Medicine from the Universidad de Navarra and a master’s degree in Statistics and Research Design from the Universidad Autònoma de Barcelona. He is Head of Medical Oncology at the Hospital Clinica Benidorm in Spain, and a member of several national and international medical societies.
He is interested in mathematical modeling of cell growth, differentiation, mutagenesis, carcinogenesis, tumor development, immunology, clonal evolution, drug resistance, pharmacokinetics, and pharmakodynamics. Other interests are painting, mountain biking, and swimming.
Project: Network Analysis of Medline References, Associations between drugs and diseases
An indication is something that is indicated as advisable or necessary. In medical terminology, an indication for a drug refers to the use of that drug for treating a particular disease (Merriam-Webster).
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies indications for drugs in the United States. Indications for drugs can be classified in two categories: FDA-approved, also called labeled indications, and non FDA-approved, also called off-label indications. In the simplest terms, “FDA approval” means that the FDA has decided the benefits of the approved item outweigh the potential risks for the item’s planned use. The process of development of a new drug may take 7–17 years, and once approved, a drug is given an indication by the FDA and marketed for that indication. Physicians are allowed to prescribe the drug for any other indication (off-label, treatment for other diseases or conditions) if there is reasonable scientific evidence that the drug is effective for that indication (FDA).
Off-label indications typically are supported by less extensive studies than labeled indications; however, this does not necessarily mean that the drugs are less effective when prescribed for off-label indications than for FDA-approved indications. Because drugs have many uses, most medical references include only labeled indications and the most common off-label indications. Regardless of whether drugs are prescribed for labeled or off-label indications, what is important is that the drug is effective and safe for the condition for which it is prescribed (MedicineNet).
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) maintains the Medline/PubMed database, which comprises more than 23 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. PubMed citations and abstracts include the fields of biomedicine and health, covering portions of the life sciences, behavioral sciences, chemical sciences, and bioengineering (Medline/PubMed).
The Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) is the NLM controlled vocabulary thesaurus used for indexing PubMed citations. It consists of sets of terms naming descriptors in a hierarchical structure that permits searching at various levels of specificity. The MeSH database allows users to find MeSH terms, including Subheadings, Publication Types, Supplementary Concepts and Pharmacological Actions. Each bibliographic reference is associated with a set of MeSH terms that describe the content of the item. Similarly, search queries use MeSH vocabulary to find items on a desired topic. For example, the drug therapy of asthma is displayed as asthma/drug therapy (MeSH).
Studying the interaction network of drugs, clinical conditions, and involved genes and proteins may improve the knowledge of diseases, their processes and their treatment, clinical development, time lags in medical indications, therapeutic trends over time, and off-label medical indications (Human Disease Network, Genomics of Drug Sensitivity in Cancer, CancerLinQ) .
To study a public database such as Medline to relate information about drugs and diseases by year of publication.
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