Effective treatments can be found by sifting billions of drug combinations

Evolutionary principles can be used to sift through billions of possible drug combinations to identify effective treatments, UK researchers have shown.

Sciclone ALH3000 machine used for the production of drug combinations
Sciclone ALH3000 machine used for the production of drug combinations

Manchester University researchers led by Professor Douglas Kell used a robotic testing facility to sort through 50 drug combinations at a time.

They combined this with a computer programme able to assess nine billion different combinations of drugs.

This allowed them to find effective combinations and repeatedly refine them in order to find ideal combinations.

Writing online in Nature Chemical Biology, the researchers commented: ‘Evolutionary searches provide a powerful and general approach to the discovery of new combinations of pharmacological agents with therapeutic indices potentially greater than those of single drugs.’

The researchers looked at drug combinations that could be used to cut inflammation, and so reduce damage from stroke, heart attacks and cancer.

But Professor Kell believes the approach will have wider use, because most diseases have complex causes, he said.

‘This makes their analysis a problem of systems biology, and to find novel therapies multiple targets need to be attacked at once,’ he said. ‘We have devised a strategy, based on Darwinian evolution, to make this considerably easier.'

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

GP dilemma: What should I do if a parent sends their child with COVID-19 symptoms to school?

GP dilemma: What should I do if a parent sends their child with COVID-19 symptoms to school?

Medical Protection's Dr Clare Devlin offers advice on how GPs should respond to parents...

GPs risk missing out on vital COVID-19 risk assessments, BMA warns

GPs risk missing out on vital COVID-19 risk assessments, BMA warns

GPs risk missing out on COVID-19 risk assessments unless practices are guaranteed...

GPs call for partial suspension of network DES amid heavy workload

GPs call for partial suspension of network DES amid heavy workload

GPs leading primary care networks (PCNs) have called for the partial suspension of...

UK COVID-19 alert level raised as GPs prioritised for testing

UK COVID-19 alert level raised as GPs prioritised for testing

The government has raised the UK's COVID-19 alert level to four amid reports that...

UK on course for 50,000 COVID-19 cases a day by mid-October

UK on course for 50,000 COVID-19 cases a day by mid-October

The UK could see 50,000 COVID-19 cases per day by mid-October, with the epidemic...

Stricter short-term COVID-19 measures needed to avoid second national lockdown, BMA warns

Stricter short-term COVID-19 measures needed to avoid second national lockdown, BMA warns

COVID-19 infection rates will ‘soar’ and the NHS will ‘once again be crippled’ if...