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What's hot in pharmacology? Discovering emerging topics with ETO's Map of Science

Pills in blister packs


Closing out our Hot Topics series with the latest in drug research and development.

This is the fifth and final post in our 🔥🔥Hot Topics🔥🔥 series, using ETO's Map of Science to uncover and explore emerging topics in STEM. All of the research in this post was done using the Map of Science only, in less than an hour, by one non-expert analyst (your narrator). Earlier posts explored emerging topics in materials science, quantum research, computing hardware, and Chinese AI research.

Today, we'll close out our tour of the frontiers of research with a look at emerging topics in pharmacology. We'll narrow the Map of Science down to pharmacology-related research clusters with the Map's subject-matter filter, then define and apply an additional set of filters corresponding to especially young and active sub-domains of science and technology. Faithful readers of our Hot Topics series will know the drill by now - there's not much novel in this latest installation.

In a way, that's a good thing! We want users to be able to easily experiment with different ways to parse what's out there - and once they have an approach that gives meaningful results, they should be able to tweak it without too much trouble. In this particular series of posts, we came up with an approach (implemented as a set of filters) that provided a decent approximation of "hot topics," and were then able to apply it to several different subject-matter areas with little added effort. It's the sort of exploration that might otherwise have required hiring a bunch of PhDs to consult, or maybe combing through piles of review papers.

That's not to say that PhDs and review papers aren't useful, of course. No single method or resource is perfect, and the Map of Science certainly has its own limitations. We hope the Map will be a useful complement to other methods, not necessarily a replacement. On its own, the Map can provide good initial insight into many important questions about global science and technology. But if you do have access to subject-matter experts, scholarly datasets, or other such resources, so much the better - we believe the Map will make those resources moreuseful, not less, by helping you easily and efficiently scope your analysis, experiment with different perspectives on the landscape, and find interesting "entry points" for further investigation.

As a final case in point, let's turn back to today's topic. Selecting "pharmacology" from the Map's subject-matter menu, then applying filters for cluster size, article age, and citation rating brings us from tens of thousands of clusters to a much smaller handful.

Screenshots: Selecting various filters from the Map of Science; the map updates in real time as filters are modified

We can then use the Map's list view to browse the results, sorting initially by growth rate. Unsurprisingly, a lot of the top pharmacology research clusters (according to our filters) are COVID-related, but there are plenty of other topics in the mix:

Cluster IDWhat does this cluster seem to be about? (summary based on the cluster's keywords and top articles)Number of articles (last 5 years)Selected articles (selected from the "Articles and sources" pane in the cluster's detail view)Other interesting features (based on information from the cluster's detail view)
88560Using magnetic nanoparticles in hyperthermic cancer treatment163"Hadron Therapy, Magnetic Nanoparticles and Hyperthermia: A Promising Combined Tool for Pancreatic Cancer Treatment"
"Nanoparticles exhibiting self-regulating temperature as innovative agents for Magnetic Fluid Hyperthermia"
Extremely rapid growth (100th percentile among all clusters in the Map)
30068Akkermansia muciniphila probiotic bacteria1198"Akkermansia muciniphila: is it the Holy Grail for ameliorating metabolic diseases?"
"Pasteurized Akkermansia muciniphila increases whole-body energy expenditure and fecal energy excretion in diet-induced obese mice"
Over half of articles in the cluster have Chinese authors, but they are cited significantly less often than articles from other countries
10761COVID-19 protease-targeting drugs3073"Structural basis of SARS-CoV-2 3CL~(pro) and anti-COVID-19 drug discovery from medicinal plants"
"Boceprevir, GC-376, and calpain inhibitors II, XII inhibit SARS-CoV-2 viral replication by targeting the viral main protease"
Top authoring country: India (757/3073 articles have at least one Indian author)
68964Sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors441"Empagliflozin Improves Liver Steatosis and Fibrosis in Patients with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial"
"SGLT-2 Inhibitors in NAFLD: Expanding Their Role beyond Diabetes and Cardioprotection?"
Japanese authors, institutions and funders are especially prominent in this cluster
85537Kinase inhibitor treatment for Alzheimer's disease160"Role of p38/MAPKs in Alzheimer's disease: implications for amyloid beta toxicity targeted therapy"
"Simplified immunosuppressive and neuroprotective agents based on gracilin A"
Top author in this cluster, both by paper count and citations (39 average yearly citations per paper): Hyang-Sook Hoe of the Korea Brain Research Institute
47700Ivermectin treatment for COVID-19831"Meta-Analyses Do Not Establish Improved Mortality With Ivermectin Use in COVID-19"
"Effect of Ivermectin on Time to Resolution of Symptoms Among Adults With Mild COVID-19: A Randomized Clinical Trial"
Top authoring institutions are predominantly British and Spanish
76046Near-infrared photoimmunotherapy of cancer234"Endoscopic Applications of Near-Infrared Photoimmunotherapy (NIR-PIT) in Cancers of the Digestive and Respiratory Tracts"
"Near-Infrared Photoimmunotherapy: Photoactivatable Antibody–Drug Conjugates (ADCs)"
The United States and Japan play leading roles in this cluster
19657Drug delivery via extracellular vesicles1543"New approaches in extracellular vesicle engineering for improving the efficacy of anti-cancer therapies"
"Engineering macrophage-derived exosomes for targeted paclitaxel delivery to pulmonary metastases: in vitro and in vivo evaluations"
Top venue for articles in this cluster, unsurprisingly: the Journal of Extracellular Vesicles

Our next post will summarize insights from the entire Hot Topics series. In the meantime, if you'd like to learn more about the Map of Science, its capabilities, and its limitations, ETO is here to help: you can check out the Map's documentation, book a live support slot, or contact us directly.