An artificial intelligence method unveils possible effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease

A group of experts at Massachusetts General Hospital, in association with Harvard Medical School, constructed an artificial intelligence method that unveils all the possible treatments available for Alzheimer’s disease.

According to co-author Artem Sokolov: “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.”

“We therefore built a framework for prioritizing drugs, helping clinical studies to focus on the most promising ones,” Sokolov stated in a press release.

As published in the journal Nature Communications, the framework is known as the Drug Repurposing in Alzheimer’s Disease (DRIAD) and is based on a form of AI known as machine learning.

“DRIAD works by measuring what happens to human brain neural cells when treated with a drug. The method then determines whether the changes induced by a drug correlate with molecular markers of disease severity,” the news release states.

The framework also paved the way for the identification of proteins targeted by the most purportedly effective treatments. The method was used on 80 widely-approved drugs, in which a portion was deemed as candidates for the neurodegenerative illness.

“Top-scoring drugs are inspected for common trends among their targets,” the journal article reads. “We propose that the DRIAD method can be used to nominate drugs that, after additional validation and identification of relevant pharmacodynamic biomarker(s), could be readily evaluated in a clinical trial.”

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