AI reveals current drugs that may help combat Alzheimer's disease

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New treatments for Alzheimer's disease are desperately needed, but numerous clinical trials of investigational drugs have failed to generate promising options. Now a team at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Medical School (HMS) has developed an artificial intelligence based method to screen currently available medications as possible treatments for Alzheimer's disease. The method could represent a rapid and inexpensive way to repurpose existing therapies into new treatments for this progressive, debilitating neurodegenerative condition. Importantly, it could also help reveal new, unexplored targets for therapy by pointing to mechanisms of drug action. "Repurposing FDA-approved drugs for Alzheimer's disease is an attractive idea that can help accelerate the arrival of effective treatment - but unfortunately, even for previously approved drugs, clinical trials require substantial resources, making it impossible to evaluate every drug in patients with Alzheimer's disease," explains Artem Sokolov, PhD, director of Informatics and Modeling at the Laboratory of Systems Pharmacology at HMS. "We therefore built a framework for prioritizing drugs, helping clinical studies to focus on the most promising ones."