(Nanowerk News) New research from Cardiff University, in collaboration with Astra Zeneca, used artificial intelligence to create nanoparticles that can effectively transport drugs to precisely target and treat diseased cells.
The team say their work has potential future applications in treating genetic diseases and cancer as well as infectious diseases.
This research was published in Little Method (“Understanding Intracellular Biology to Enhance mRNA Delivery by Lipid Nanoparticles”).
Professor Arwyn T Jones, Cardiff University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, said: “We are constantly looking for new and better ways to deliver drugs throughout the human body. Nanoparticles are tiny particles that can act as microscopic shuttles to transport and deliver therapeutic molecules – drugs – throughout the body to reach specific sites that require therapeutic interventions.
“By getting these drug molecules to the right locations in the body, nanoparticles can help treat several different diseases.”
This collaborative study used AI to design custom nanoparticles to deliver drug molecules, called mRNAs, to cancer cells. These AI-designed nanoparticles later proved to be more effective as a space shuttle compared to other prototypes.
“This research shows that machine learning and artificial intelligence can become an integral part of the design process to build more effective nanotherapies.
“While the nanoparticles generated through this research are within the narrow field of biomedical research, the new technique – based on computational learning and the subsequent design of the new nanoparticle shuttle – proved effective. This means this new technique can be used to analyze and design thousands of different types of nanoparticles and deliver hundreds of different types of therapeutic molecules to target a wide variety of diseases,” added Professor Jones.
Nanoparticles are currently used in medical treatments, but scientists often create and test hundreds of nanoparticle designs before identifying the best ones – a process that can take years. This new method shows how AI can rapidly accelerate the development of nanoparticles.
“This approach obtains information about how cells and proteins in cells regulate the performance of nanoparticles as drug delivery agents. This clearly demonstrates that machine learning can make a significant contribution to designing more effective nanotherapies efficiently to better target and treat diseases,” added Professor Jones.