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Fri. Mar 1st, 2024
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and McMaster University used AI to find the novel medicine from a list of 7,000 possible medicinal molecules.

Machine learning, a subfield of Artificial Intelligence (AI), has been used by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and McMaster University to discover a novel antibiotic that may combat bacteria that promote drug-resistant diseases.

Acinetobacter baumannii is a kind of bacterium that is frequently discovered in hospitals and can cause pneumonia, meningitis, and other dangerous diseases.

The medication may help fight this bacteria. The most common infection among injured soldiers is caused by the same bacteria. Using artificial intelligence (AI), which was trained to determine whether a chemical molecule can impede the growth of A. baumannii, the novel medicine was discovered from a list of 7,000 probable medicinal compounds.

Using AI to discover new medicine

Acinetobacter is able to absorb genes for antibiotic resistance from its surroundings and can endure for extended periods of time on hospital doorknobs and other equipment. Jonathan Stokes, a former MIT postdoc, stated in a statement that finding A. baumannii isolates that are resistant to almost every antibiotic is now fairly common.

According to a study in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, machine learning techniques enable quick exploration of the chemical universe, improving the likelihood of finding novel antibacterial compounds.

The new finding supports AI’s significance in accelerating the identification of new antibiotics.

After screening more than 100 million compounds and training the AI to recognise chemical structures that could stop the growth of E. coli, the scientists discovered a substance they termed halicin. Other bacterial species could also be killed by this chemical in addition to E. coli.

Researchers focused on Acinetobacter, believe to be the number one enemy of multidrug-resistant bacterial illnesses, added Jonathan Stokes.

To determine whether chemicals could prevent the growth of the microbe, they cultivated A. baumannii in a lab and exposed it to over 7,500 different chemical substances. The AI system was then given the structures of each of the molecules.

Findings of the study

The scientists demonstrated the medicine, which they called abaucin, in a study on mice that it could treat wound infections brought on by A. baumannii and was also effective against a number of other treatment-resistant infections.

Further research, according to MIT, has shown that the medication kills cells by obstructing lipoprotein trafficking, a mechanism that cells utilise to move proteins from the inside of the cell to the cell membrane.

The experimental data collection hasn’t been completed yet, but we believe this is because A. baumannii handles lipoprotein trafficking a little bit differently than other Gram-negative organisms. Stokes believes this is the cause of the narrow spectrum activity.

By Parvathy Sukumaran

Parvathy Sukumaran is a Content Creator and Editor at JustCare Health. She is an Educator and a Language Lecturer. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Education and an M.A in English Literature. She is passionate about writing, archaeology, music and cooking.

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