In this episode, our hosts discuss the shifting landscape of modern pharmaceuticals and how artificial intelligence, machine learning, DNA samples and 3D printing can impact how we combat illness and dispense medicine.
Discovering a new drug can take decades, billions of dollars and untold research hours by some of the smartest people on the planet. The process often involves carrying out physical tests on enormous libraries of molecules. Even with the help of robotics, it’s an arduous process. Recent advances in deep learning have ignited new hope, as major pharmaceutical companies collaborate with AI-powered drug discovery startups.
In just 21 days, Insilico Medicine used AI to design a molecule that effectively targeted a protein involved in fibrosis, (the formation of excess fibrous tissue) found in mice. The results were achieved by leveraging two AI sub-fields: GANs and Reinforcement Learning.
DNA analysis and genetic testing are increasingly playing a vital role in screening and determining the risk of developing certain diseases. In some cases, it is also being used to guide medical treatment. Different types of genetic testing are done for different reasons: Diagnostic testing, Pre-symptomatic and Predictive testing, Carrier testing, Pharmacogenetics, Prenatal testing, Newborn screening, and Pre-implantation testing.
The first, and as yet only, available 3D-printed medicine is made by Aprecia Pharmaceuticals. “Spritam” was approved in 2015 to control seizures brought on by epilepsy. Although in its infancy, 3D printing and the future of customized and decentralized manufacturing has exciting possibilities.