Machine learning algorithm helps in the search for new drugs


Researchers have designed a machine learning algorithm for drug discovery which has been shown to be twice as efficient as the industry standard, which could accelerate the process of developing new treatments for disease. The researchers, led by the University of Cambridge, used their algorithm to identify four new molecules that activate a protein which is thought to be relevant for symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia. The results are reported in the journal PNAS. A key problem in drug discovery is predicting whether a molecule will activate a particular physiological process. It's possible to build a statistical model by searching for chemical patterns shared among molecules known to activate that process, but the data to build these models is limited because experiments are costly and it is unclear which chemical patterns are statistically significant.