Algorithms similar to those used by Netflix, Amazon and Facebook have shown the ability to decipher the'biological language' of cancer, Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases. Researchers trained a large-scale language model with a recommendation AI to look at what happens when something goes wrong with proteins that leads to the development of a disease. The work, conducted by St. John's College and the University of Cambridge, programed the algorithm to learn the language of shapeshifting droplets of proteins found in cells in order to understand their function and malfunction. By learning these protein droplets' language, the team can then'correct the grammatical mistakes inside cells that cause disease.'' Professor Tuomas Knowles, a Fellow at St John's College, said: 'Any defects connected with these protein droplets can lead to diseases such as cancer. 'This is why bringing natural language processing technology into research into the molecular origins of protein malfunction is vital if we want to be able to correct the grammatical mistakes inside cells that cause disease.' Machine learning technology has made waves in the tech industry – Netflix uses it to recommend series, Facebook's suggest someone to friend and Amazon's Alexa has an algorithm to recognize people based on their voice.
Powerful algorithms used by Netflix, Amazon and Facebook can'predict' the biological language of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, scientists have found. Big data produced during decades of research was fed into a computer language model to see if artificial intelligence can make more advanced discoveries than humans. Academics based at St John's College, University of Cambridge, found the machine-learning technology could decipher the'biological language' of cancer, Alzheimer's, and other neurodegenerative diseases. Their ground-breaking study has been published in the scientific journal PNAS today (April 8 2021) and could be used in the future to'correct the grammatical mistakes inside cells that cause disease'. Professor Tuomas Knowles, lead author of the paper and a Fellow at St John's College, said: "Bringing machine-learning technology into research into neurodegenerative diseases and cancer is an absolute game-changer. Ultimately, the aim will be to use artificial intelligence to develop targeted drugs to dramatically ease symptoms or to prevent dementia happening at all."
Gene therapy that increases the levels of an enzyme called CyP40 can reduce toxic tangles of tau protein in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease (right panel versus control condition in left panel). A human protein -- called CyP40 -- can untangle the neurodegenerative clumps that characterize Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, scientists reported Tuesday in the journal PLoS Biology. The findings may guide new therapeutic avenues for these conditions. "We were surprised that CyP40 could disaggregate the tangles," Laura Blair, a biologist at the University of South Florida and senior author of the study, said because very few human proteins can take these clumps and undo them. In Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, certain proteins in the brain stick together in toxic, knotted clumps that cause cognitive decline.
A new study published this month in Nature marks a key milestone in Alzheimer's research. It demonstrates the first complete model of a tau filament, a protein structure found in the brain cells of Alzheimer's patients and thought to be the cause of the neurodegenerative disease. Many scientists believe that tau proteins are the molecular building blocks of Alzheimer's disease. These tangles are thought to inhibit cell communication, form lesions, and eventually cause the memory loss associated with Alzheimer's. Different arrangements of tau proteins, or "morphologies," can accompany different neurodegenerative diseases such Parkinson's.
Researchers may have discovered the'ground zero' of Alzheimer's disease, paving the way to treatment that could halt condition in its tracks. A team of scientists at the University of North Carolina's Medical School conducted a series of experiments to look at different factors driving the disease in order to try and pinpoint a way to stop it in its tracks. Alzheimer's disease causes abnormal deposits of amyloid beta protein and tau protein in the brain, as well as swarms of activated immune cells. The team of researchers used different experiments to look at how the proteins and activated immune cells attack the brain and cause Alzheimer's-related symptoms. The drug, called tubastatin A, is currently undergoing late stage clinical trials at a number of hospitals around the United States.