Big data and drug discovery, go hand-in-hand. According to Dr. Anne Carpenter at the Broad Institute, who is working on a solution to provide all the information a biologist needs to solve problems or disease from an image, part of a biologists work is to extract data from an image of a tissue sample, with the help of big data mining, they can do much more with their time.
The lab, at the Broad Institute, offers open-access tools such as CellProfiler and CellProfiler Analyst, which are quite famous among many of the top pharma companies, to allow users to measure, mine and interactively explore morphological data from images of complex physiological tissue samples in high resolutions.
Explaining further, Carpenter illustrating with an example, says that if one wants to find drugs that can keep tuberculosis under check, they can do so by infecting cells in a dish and then test a hundred thousand drugs against those infected cells by using the CellProfiler, to analyze which of these cells are infected and which aren’t. The image tool can also find novel morphological differences between diseased and healthy cells.
Similarly, at Janssen R&D, Dr. Hugo Ceulemans, Scientific Director of Computational Sciences, and his team of data scientists are leveraging techs like machine learning and artificial intelligence for small molecule drug discovery. The team recently published a report in which it claims it’s quite feasible to repurpose existing image-based assays in order to explore new targets and chemical space.