Positive results for MND drug candidate discovered by AI

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The Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN), part of the University of Sheffield and one of the world’s leading centres for research into Motor Neurone Disease (MND), Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease, has announced that its research into a drug candidate discovered by British artificial intelligence firm BenevolentAI has delivered positive results.

The study, led by Dr. Richard Mead and Dr. Laura Ferraiuolo at SITraN, assessed the efficacy of a drug candidate proposed by BenevolentAI’s artificial Intelligence technology for MND, also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). SITraN found there are significant and reproducible indications that the drug prevents the death of motor neurones in patient cell models, and delayed the onset of the disease in the gold standard model of ALS.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that causes muscle weakness, paralysis, and ultimately, respiratory failure, with a life expectancy following diagnosis of two to five years. There are currently only two FDA approved drugs available to patients, Riluzole, approved in 1995, and Edaravone, approved only a few weeks ago.

SITraN are now moving to the next phase of their research, advancing the existing study and assessing the suitability and potential for clinical development.

Dr. Richard Mead of SITraN said: “BenevolentAI came to us with some newly identified compounds discovered by their technology – two of which were new to us in the field and, following this research, are now looking very promising.  Our plan now is to conduct further detailed testing and continue to quickly progress towards a potential treatment for ALS”.

The Institute expects to publish an abstract at the Motor Neurone Disease Association 28th International Symposium in Boston in December 2017.