Medical Discovery News

AI as a Tool for New Therapeutics

August 02, 2023 Medical Discovery News Season 18 Episode 872
AI as a Tool for New Therapeutics
Medical Discovery News

AI Tool for New Therapeutics

Welcome to Medical Discovery News.  I’m Dr. Norbert Herzog. 

And I’m Dr. David Niesel 

In medicine, artificial intelligence is already being used in a variety of ways…it is being used to screen tissues and images for cancer cells. 

Now AI may help us come up with better drugs and vaccines, specifically mRNA vaccines which is the same technology behind two COVID vaccines. 

Researchers used AI to design the structure enhancing the stability of the mRNAs. The goal was to make the mRNA more stable once injected in the body so that it will trigger the immune system to make higher amounts of protective antibodies. 

These AI engineered mRNA are double stranded molecules that produce more than one hundred times the antibody response than non-AI optimized mRNAs. 

The shelf life is also longer. And the same approach could be used to design vaccines for a wide range of diseases including ones that fight cancer.

In another separate study, AI networks were trained on databases with thousands of protein sequences to create antibodies that bind to their targets better.  This led to some antibodies that were better at binding to SARS-CoV2, Ebola and the flu virus.    

That means that they’re more efficient at helping the immune system launch a robust defense against these threatening diseases.  

Scientists now speculate this generative AI approach can go beyond improving existing antibodies to design new ones to fight deadly viruses. That would be helpful in dealing with a future that’s bound to include unpredictable pandemics. 

We are Drs. David Niesel and Norbert Herzog, at UTMB and Quinnipiac University, where biomedical discoveries shape the future of medicine.   For much more and our disclaimer go to or subscribe to our podcast. Sign up for expanded print episodes at