In order to introduce our AVANT project to a wider audience, our channel on Facebook informs about current activities and upcoming events such as the virtual kick-off meeting. Here we also present stories from the project context, such as this one about the latest findings of MIT:
What do antibiotics have to do with Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”?
Although AVANT is striving for alternatives to antibiotics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers impressively demonstrate how AI can be used to identify new powerful antibiotic compounds using machine learning algorithms.
“We wanted to develop a platform that would allow us to harness the power of artificial intelligence to usher in a new age of antibiotic drug discovery […] Our approach revealed this amazing molecule which is arguably one of the more powerful antibiotics that has been discovered.” (James Collins, Professor of Medical Engineering & Science in MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering & Science [IMES] and Department of Biological Engineering)
A predictive computer model was trained for in silico screening, which were until now not sufficiently accurate to transform drug discovery. Testing a library of about 6,000 compounds, the model picked out one molecule with strong antibacterial activity against resistant Clostridium difficile, Acinetobacter baumannii and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Interestingly, the scientists decided to call it halicin (formerly tested as possible diabetes drug), after the fictional artificial intelligence system “H.A.L. 9000” from Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 science-fiction movie.