The British company DeepMind, a sister company of Google, has created an artificial intelligence capable of predicting the structure of proteins. She has just announced a new partnership to assist in the development of new treatments for neglected tropical diseases.
In November 2020, an artificial intelligence won the CASP (Critical Assessment of Structure Prediction), an annual competition to predict the structure of. This long and complex process is fundamental to creating new medical treatments. This AI is AlphaFold. It is developed by , a British subsidiary of Alphabet, the parent company of Google.
The firma partnership with the DNDi (Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative), a research organization that tries to find treatments for neglected. The aim is to use AlphaFold to accelerate the development of new drugs for and the .
AlphaFold could democratize research
DNDi researchers recently discovered acapable of binding to a protein of Trypanosoma cruzi, the responsible for Chagas disease, and kill him. AlphaFold was able to predict the , which will allow researchers to design multiple drugs that bind to it in different ways. Entrusting this particularly long and expensive stage of research to an AI could make it much more accessible to countries where the research does not have the necessary means to tackle certain diseases.
wishes to develop other partnerships, in particular for chronic diseases such as . Some specialists call for caution, since the protein structures of the human body are much less predictable than those of and parasites. However, if AlphaFold can prove its worth, the next step might be to use to predict how molecules bind to proteins, and thus find potential treatments more quickly.