Center for Healthy Aging at the University of Copenhagen today announced a research collaboration with a company specializing in artificial intelligence (AI) to develop solutions for preventing early aging. The aim of this partnership is to develop medicines to prevent and cure a broad range of diseases associated with aging such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and cardiovascular diseases.
Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and cardiovascular diseases are strongly associated with aging and share many characteristics on the molecular level. Experts in the genetics of aging at the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine partnered with the Baltimore-based company, Insilico Medicine, specializing in AI to find molecules that can be developed into drugs to cure and prevent these diseases. The objective of this collaboration is to increase health span for everyone on the planet. "Many of the diseases of aging are associated with the failure of the DNA repair mechanisms. The aging processes accelerate as the DNA repair mechanisms lose function. The collaboration with Insilico Medicine will allow us to find the molecules that repair DNA and prevent accelerated aging", said the head of the biology of aging lab and assistant professor Morten Scheibye-Knudsen, Center for Healthy Aging.
Extended Lifespan for All
Insilico Medicine develops the advanced AI algorithms to study the aging processes and discover new interventions in aging. Many of these molecules aim to induce the expression of certain genes involved in the endogenous repair processes to slow down and even reverse some of the aging-associated diseases. By applying a specific branch of artificial intelligence called Deep Learning (DL) on multi-modal data, the company aims to discover molecules that can stimulate the repair of the DNA.
"Deep learning systems are outperforming human abilities in many tasks including image recognition and autonomous driving. But one area, where AI will have the most impact is drug discovery and we are deeply honored to be able to partner with professor Scheibye-Knudsen's group at the University of Copenhagen, which is one of the most advanced in the world. I hope that together we will be able to find new molecules to extend healthy longevity and make humans more resistant to the various stress factors", said Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD, founder and CEO of Insilico Medicine, Inc.
At the advanced laboratories in Copenhagen, the research teams will be able to test the molecules identified using the artificial intelligence methods to select the most effective ones for joint development into novel medicines.
"We hope that cooperation can lead to the development of some new drugs that can prevent early aging, thus ensuring increased health spans for everyone. If we can find molecules that repair our DNA, it is not inconceivable that we can increase the upper limit to how old we may be, "says Morten Scheibye-Knudsen.
Insilico Medicine was the first company to apply deep generative adversarial networks (GANs) to generation of new molecular structures with specified parameters and published a seminal papers in Oncotarget and Molecular Pharmaceutics. Another paper published in Molecular Pharmaceutics in 2016, demonstrated the proof of concept of the application of deep neural networks for predicting the therapeutic class of the molecule using the transcriptional response data, received the American Chemical Society Editors' Choice Award.
The pharmaceutical industry is expected to benefit from the recent advances in AI. Insilico Medicine was profiled in the recent article in Nature Biotechnology titled "AI-powered drug discovery captures pharma interest" among the other companies utilizing machine learning for drug discovery. The agreement with Juvenescence is expected to set a precedent for the new molecules discovered using the new generation of artificial intelligence by a team of expert drug developers.
About Insilico Medicine, Inc
Insilico Medicine, Inc. is an artificial intelligence company located at the Emerging Technology Centers at the Johns Hopkins University Eastern campus in Baltimore, with R&D resources in Belgium, Russia, and the UK sourced through hackathons and competitions. The company utilises advances in genomics, big data analysis, and deep learning for in silico drug discovery and drug repurposing for ageing and age-related diseases. The company is pursuing internal drug discovery programs in cancer, Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's Disease, ALS, diabetes, sarcopenia, and ageing. Through its Pharma.AI division, Insilico provides advanced machine learning services to biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and skin care companies, foundations and national governments globally. In 2017, NVIDIA selected Insilico Medicine as one of the Top 5 AI companies in its potential for social impact.
Brief company video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l62jlwgL3v8
About the Scheibye-Knudsen Laboratory
The growing proportion of the elderly population represents an increasing socioeconomic challenge, not least because of age-associated diseases. It is therefore increasingly pertinent to find interventions for age-associated diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and cardiovascular diseases. Although the cause of aging is currently unknown accumulation of damage to our genome, the DNA, may be a contributing factor.
In the Scheibye-Knudsen lab we try to understand the cellular and organismal consequences of DNA damage with the aim of developing interventions. We have discovered that DNA damage leads to changes in certain metabolites and that replenishment of these molecules may alter the rate of aging in model organisms. These findings suggest that normal aging and age-associated diseases may be malleable to similar interventions. The hope is to develop interventions that will allow everyone to live healthier, happier and more productive lives.
Laboratory website: http://scheibye-knudsen.com/
About the University of Copenhagen
With over 40,000 students and more than 9,000 employees, the University of Copenhagen is the largest institution of research and education in Denmark and among the highest ranked universities in Europe. The purpose of the University – to quote the University Statute – is to 'conduct research and provide further education to the highest academic level'. Approximately one hundred different institutes, departments, laboratories, centres, museums, etc., form the nucleus of the University.
University website: http://introduction.ku.dk/presentation/
Dr. Qingsong Zhu
University of Copenhagen
Dr. Morten Scheibye-Knudsen