HomeAre Deep Neural Networks and AI the Next Frontier for Aging Research?

Are Deep Neural Networks and AI the Next Frontier for Aging Research?

Could Deep Neural Networks lead us to the Fountain of Youth? At least one company thinks so.  

CEO and Founder, Dr. Alex Zhavaronkov and his company Insilico are using deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to combat the inevitable: aging. As AI capabilities continue to take a strong hold of the future, Insilico is leveraging the technology, among others, to develop new techniques for drug discovery, research and treatment.

We all would like to live forever, but there’s more to this than just adding on extra years. What do those years look like, for example? Insilico believes we need to ensure the quality of those additional years, not just the number. Enter aging research.

According to Insilico’s website, their mission “is to extend healthy longevity through innovative AI solutions for drug discovery and aging research.” Touting that their researchers have ”developed a comprehensive drug discovery engine, which utilizes millions of samples and multiple data types to discover signatures of disease and identify the most promising targets for billions of molecules that already exist or can be generated de novo with the desired set of parameters.”

Real-world applications: Big Pharma

AT&T-Warner Bros Merger Gives High Hopes for CVS-Aetna Deal

Beyond aging research, Zhavaronkov and his team are working to expedite drug discovery timelines and combat disease through target molecular research.

In a recent interview with Forbes, Zhavaronkov outlined near-future applications of their drug discovery work: “Pharma is the most inefficient industry in the world. Over 90 percent of human trials fail. We want to ensure that we can either optimize Big Pharma or replace them with faster and smarter drug discovery. Pharma is relying on human intelligence. We are using systems that are outperforming humans at every level.”

Big Pharma is acutely aware of the need to implement AI tools to improve the costly and time consuming processes that are plaguing the industry, specifically R&D. As one reporter put it, “the pharmaceutical industry is now in need of innovation more than ever.”

Imagine a future where human drug trials are more successful because the accelerated research supporting those trials was backed by powerful AI; we’ve already seen AI outperform humans. And just look at how pharma giant Pfizer is partnering with XtalPi to increase the effectiveness of their small molecule drug discovery programs through enhanced computational modelling.

Why you should care

This Week in Healthtech:
The Rise of Mobile Health

Companies utilizing artificial intelligence and deep learning will see accelerated and more accurate research.  

Even if your specialty doesn’t fall within the realm of aging research, the work being done at Insilico could have exponential applications spanning across virtually every field. With the utilization of deep neural networks to compare and analyze millions (or even billions) of data sets, this technology could cut down on research time and bring better, more effective treatments to patients, faster.