In only 30 days, AI discovers potential drug for liver cancer

In what would take decades among human scientists, an artificial deep learning system developed specifically for medical research, has identified a novel drug candidate for liver cancer in just 30 days.

The AI system responsible for this scientific breakthrough and the possibility of winning the fight against liver cancer - the third leading cause of death worldwide - is known as AlphaFold.

AlphaFold was created by the London-based biotech, research, and engineering firm DeepMind, which was bought out in 2014 by Alphabet, the parent company of Google.

The AI system is able to accurately predict 3D models of protein structures found in the human genome, according to the DeepMind website.

These mappings, which would typically have taken researchers decades to discover, are saved in the AlphaFold database.

The system then uses deep learning to comb the database and “evaluate the druggability of a therapeutic target,” according to a study published in the January 2023 UK journal Chemical Science.

The discovery is “considered a remarkable breakthrough in both AI applications and structural biology,” with the “potential to accelerate research in every field of biology,” according to the research scientists involved in the study.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society show the general 5-year survival rate for liver cancer in the United States is only 20%.

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