02 Jul Atomwise Launches AI-Powered Virtual Drug Screening Program for Pediatric Cancers
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Abraham Heifets, PhD
Department of Computer Science
University of Toronto
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this announcement? How many children and adolescents are affected by pediatric cancer?
Response: Cancer is diagnosed in more than 15,000 children and adolescents each year. Many cancers, including pediatric cancer, do not have effective treatments and for those that do, it is estimated that 80% have serious adverse effects that impact long-term health.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the goals of the 10-to-the-10 program? Where will the screened compounds come from?
Response: The 10-to-the-10 program aims to dramatically increase the discovery of safer small molecules to treat pediatric cancers. The program will search for novel drug candidates by looking at billions of compounds that have never been examined in any drug discovery program. By doing this, we maximize the opportunity to develop drugs for novel target proteins to inhibit cancer growth and metastasis.
The initiative aims to not only increase the rate of success but also to raise the bar for success and advancement at each step of drug development and to shorten the time needed for preclinical drug discovery.
MedicalResearch.com: Who will have access to the databases and outcomes?
Response: Enamine’s REAL database is already accessible on their website. With respect to outcomes, we plan to publish the results of the program in peer-reviewed journals. In the meantime, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter for updates.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Everyone is looking for new medicines or safer drugs with fewer side effects. By virtually screening ten billion compounds, we will make it possible for researchers to discover many more and higher quality starting points for drug development. We are hopeful that this initiative will be a springboard for pediatric cancer drug development programs, and bring newer and better therapies to patients faster.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: With our partners, we have successfully identified early drug candidates, including submicromolar hits, by screening only 10 million compounds with our AI virtual screening platform. We’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible – imagine what we’ll find when screening a chemical library that is a thousand times larger.
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