The new AI model will seek cures for rare diseases. If successful, it will help about 23 million patients worldwide.
The new model based on artificial intelligence (AI) will be used to combat the deadliest parasitic diseases in the developing world. This was announced by the technology company DeepMind. Alphabet’s London lab will partner with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative to treat Chagas disease and leishmaniasis.
The researchers explained that many diseases are related to the role of proteins in catalysis (enzymes), disease fighting (antibodies), as chemical messengers (hormones such as insulin). And knowledge of the three-dimensional structure of a protein is important for the development of treatments, in particular, cancer and infectious diseases.
“We are excited about the potential of this technology, which will help fill some of the gaps in our understanding of biology and accelerate scientific research to create effective new therapies for disease,” DeepMind said. At the same time, the company wants to focus on diseases that scientists deal with the least.
Chagas disease and leishmaniasis affects up to 23 million people worldwide. Scientists note that the adaptation of existing drugs for them has already failed.
“Patients suffering from neglected diseases receive outdated treatments that are sometimes toxic, have serious side effects and are inappropriate for their intended use,” said Ben Perry, project manager for DNDi.
He hopes the partnership will lead to the discovery of drugs that can be easily taken by mouth. “The use of AI could be a watershed moment for us – by predicting previously insoluble protein structures, the model opens up new horizons for research,” the researchers noted.