Background: Natural products are considered a rich source of new chemical structures that may lead to the therapeutic agents in all major disease areas. About 50% of the drugs introduced in the market in the last 20 years were natural products/derivatives or natural products mimics, which clearly shows the influence of natural products in drug discovery.
Results: In an effort to further support the research in this field, we have developed an integrative knowledge base on Marine Sponge Compounds Interactions (Dragon Exploration System on Marine Sponge Compounds Interactions - DESMSCI) as a web resource. This knowledge base provides information about the associations of the sponge compounds with different biological concepts such as human genes or proteins, diseases, as well as pathways, based on the literature information available in PubMed and information deposited in several other databases. As such, DESMSCI is aimed as a research support resource for problems on the utilization of marine sponge compounds. DESMSCI allows visualization of relationships between different chemical compounds and biological concepts through textual and tabular views, graphs and relational networks. In addition, DESMSCI has built in hypotheses discovery module that generates potentially new/interesting associations among different biomedical concepts. We also present a case study derived from the hypotheses generated by DESMSCI which provides a possible novel mode of action for variolins in Alzheimer's disease.
Conclusion: DESMSCI is the first publicly available (http://www.cbrc.kaust.edu.sa/desmsci) comprehensive resource where users can explore information, compiled by text- and data-mining approaches, on biological and chemical data related to sponge compounds.