New Medical Delta program AI for Computational Life Sciences accelerates and improves drug development

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Medical Delta will start its fifteenth scientific program this month: Medical Delta AI for Computational Life Sciences. The program combines Artificial Intelligence (AI), bioinformatics and life sciences. It bridges scientific research to drug development and clinical usage for different diseases and disorders, including tuberculosis and brain disorders.

The consortium that is collaborating in the program uses AI techniques to unlock biomedical data, discover new candidate drugs, detect special cell abnormalities or connections and find useful information for research in complex data. By doing so, the program is creating new opportunities for scientific research into the human body and, in particular, on the development and effect of new medicines. In addition to tuberculosis and brain disorders, the results of this research can also be applied to other diseases.

Medical Delta is investing €380,000 to start the program. In line with Medical Delta’s other scientific programs, interdisciplinary collaboration is the starting point. Scientists in the fields of bioinformatics, drug development, AI and Computational Life Sciences from Leiden University, LUMC, Erasmus University and Delft University of Technology work together with clinicians and pharmaceutical companies. Scientists from Erasmus MC are also involved in the program.

Huge amounts of data

The possibilities to access the molecular data of cells and tissues are increasing, but this also creates new challenges. For example, how can one find the right information for research purposes when there is such an enormous amount of data? ‘Computational Life Sciences’ is a combination of computer science and life science. With the help of AI techniques, Computational Life Sciences help scientists search for the molecules and genes that are interesting for a specific biological study. It helps to clarify hypotheses and thus creates new opportunities for, among other things, drug development that can be carried out faster, more specifically and better. In addition to the development and application of Computational Life Sciences with AI techniques in general, the program initially focuses on two lines of research: antibiotic resistance for tuberculosis and targeted medication for brain disorders.

Extra impulse AI research in the province of Zuid-Holland

“Scientists in the field of bioinformatics and computer sciences have reached out to each other for quite some time. The new program gives an extra impulse to this interdisciplinary collaboration. Not only does it bring top scientists together, the program also builds a bridge to industry and clinical applications and ties in with initiatives such as the AI hub Zuid-Holland,” says Prof. Frank Willem Jansen, chairman of Medical Delta. "Therefore, the program is a strong addition to Medical Delta’s existing scientific programs and contributes to the potential of the Life Sciences sector in province of Zuid-Holland."

More information about the program: click here

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