Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Algorithms predicting gene interactions could make cancer treatments more effective

02.05.2019

While network algorithms are usually associated with finding friends on social media, researchers at the University of Sussex have shown how they could also be used improve the effectiveness of cancer treatment, by predicting the interactions between genes.

There are over 12 million newly diagnosed cases of cancer globally each year and this figure only continues to grow.


This is a spinglass of human gene interactions.

Credit: Graeme Benstead-Hume, University of Sussex

Existing treatments like chemotherapy involve non-selective agents that have limited effectiveness and strong side-effects. As a result, scientists believe there is a desperate need for improved treatments which are more personalised and more targeted towards cancerous cells.

There are a number of targeted cancer therapies already being developed that exploit a gene relationship called 'synthetic lethal interactions'. The trouble is, up until now, relatively few of these interactions have been identified.

Thanks to the use of artificial intelligence, researchers at the University of Sussex, working with a team from the Institute of Cancer Research in London, have successfully created an algorithm which can now predict where these interactions may occur.

Graeme Benstead-Hume, a doctoral student at the University of Sussex, said: "Synthetically lethal means that cells can cope if either one of its proteins does not work, but will die if neither of the proteins is functioning.

"These relationships are important because they can be used to identify where potential drug treatments could target just the cancer cells yet leave healthy cells unharmed, creating a more effective, gentler treatment.

"With breast cancer, we've already seen that these more personalised therapies can be achieved by finding synthetically lethal pairs of proteins. The only problem is that there are many millions of potential pairs and finding new ones is both difficult and time-consuming.

"Thankfully, our algorithm, Slant, can now address this."

Slant uses data already available to identify patterns associated with being part of a synthetic lethal interaction.

By searching across an expansive protein network for similar patterns, it's able to effectively predict new synthetically lethal pairs. These predictions were validated by the researchers back in the laboratory and are now publicly available on a newly created database called Slorth, which allows clinicians and researchers to quickly search for a particular gene or drug, and identify whether a synthetic lethal interaction might occur.

This innovative computational approach has now been published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology.

Dr Frances Pearl, corresponding author on the paper, said: "This work just shows how emerging technology and artificial intelligence can rapidly speed up the work that can lead to new treatment strategies for diseases like cancer.

"By predicting interactions between genes, we have sped up a process that would have been incredibly time consuming."

Media Contact

Stephanie Allen
s.l.allen@sussex.ac.uk
01-273-873-659

 @sussexunipress

http://www.sussex.ac.uk 

Stephanie Allen | EurekAlert!
Further information:
https://www.sussex.ac.uk/news/research?id=48499

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A new approach to targeting cancer cells
20.05.2019 | University of California - Riverside

nachricht Radioisotope couple for tumor diagnosis and therapy
14.05.2019 | Kanazawa University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Self-repairing batteries

UTokyo engineers develop a way to create high-capacity long-life batteries

Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...

Im Focus: Quantum Cloud Computing with Self-Check

With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.

Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...

Im Focus: Accelerating quantum technologies with materials processing at the atomic scale

'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.

However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...

Im Focus: A step towards probabilistic computing

Working group led by physicist Professor Ulrich Nowak at the University of Konstanz, in collaboration with a team of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, demonstrates how skyrmions can be used for the computer concepts of the future

When it comes to performing a calculation destined to arrive at an exact result, humans are hopelessly inferior to the computer. In other areas, humans are...

Im Focus: Recording embryonic development

Scientists develop a molecular recording tool that enables in vivo lineage tracing of embryonic cells

The beginning of new life starts with a fascinating process: A single cell gives rise to progenitor cells that eventually differentiate into the three germ...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Synthesis of helical ladder polymers

21.05.2019 | Materials Sciences

Ultra-thin superlattices from gold nanoparticles for nanophotonics

21.05.2019 | Materials Sciences

Chaperones keep the tumor suppressor protein p53 in check: How molecular escorts help prevent cancer

21.05.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>