The machine-learning algorithm identified a compound that kills Acinetobacter baumannii, a bacterium that lurks in many hospital settings.
Copyright: news.mit.edu – “Using AI, scientists find a drug that could combat drug-resistant infections”
Using an artificial intelligence algorithm, researchers at MIT and McMaster University have identified a new antibiotic that can kill a type of bacteria that is responsible for many drug-resistant infections.
If developed for use in patients, the drug could help to combat Acinetobacter baumannii, a species of bacteria that is often found in hospitals and can lead to pneumonia, meningitis, and other serious infections. The microbe is also a leading cause of infections in wounded soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Acinetobacter can survive on hospital doorknobs and equipment for long periods of time, and it can take up antibiotic resistance genes from its environment. It’s really common now to find A. baumannii isolates that are resistant to nearly every antibiotic,” says Jonathan Stokes, a former MIT postdoc who is now an assistant professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences at McMaster University.
The researchers identified the new drug from a library of nearly 7,000 potential drug compounds using a machine-learning model that they trained to evaluate whether a chemical compound will inhibit the growth of A. baumannii.
“This finding further supports the premise that AI can significantly accelerate and expand our search for novel antibiotics,” says James Collins, the Termeer Professor of Medical Engineering and Science in MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) and Department of Biological Engineering. “I’m excited that this work shows that we can use AI to help combat problematic pathogens such as A. baumannii.”
Collins and Stokes are the senior authors of the new study, which appears today in Nature Chemical Biology. The paper’s lead authors are McMaster University graduate students Gary Liu and Denise Catacutan and recent McMaster graduate Khushi Rathod.[…]
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