/   Home   /   Newsroom   /   Research in China

Hong Kong Researchers Find Shortcut to Predict Brain Diseases' Drug Effectiveness

Mar 19, 2019     Email"> PrintText Size


(From left) Mr Duan Xin, Dr Lin Xudong, Dr Shi Peng, Professor Cheng Shuk Han and Dr Wang Xin. [Photo/City University of Hong Kong]  

A research team led by the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has developed a new platform to enhance the prediction of effectiveness of medicines treating brain diseases, the university told reporter on Monday.

The result came after five years of collaboration between CityU's Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) and Department of Biomedical Sciences (BMS), and Harvard Medical School, the United States, aiming to provide a platform to predict compounds that have the potential to be developed into new drugs to treat brain diseases.

The research team generated the maps from the brains of thousands of zebrafish larvae, each treated with a clinically used CNS drug. The maps showed the corresponding brain regions that reacted to those drugs.

By employing machine learning strategy, the team predicted that 30 out of those 121 new compounds had anti-seizure properties. To validate the prediction, the research team randomly chose 14 from the 30 potential anti-seizure compounds to perform behavioral tests with induced seizure zebrafishes.

The result showed that 7 out of 14 compounds were able to reduce the seizures of the zebrafish without causing any sedative effects, implying a prediction accuracy of around 50 percent.

Shi Peng, Associate Professor of CityU's BME, said that the team used robotics, microfluidics and hydrodynamic force to trap and orient an awake zebrafish automatically in 20 seconds, which allowed the imaging for many zebrafishes to be carried out in one go.

"More importantly, our platform can immobilize the fish without anaesthesia, thus avoiding interference," he added.

With this high-speed in vivo drug screening system combined with machine learning, Shi said that a shortcut is provided to help identify compounds with significantly higher therapeutic potentials for further development, hence speed up the drug development and reduce the failure rate in the process.

The research is published in the scientific journal Nature Communications. (Xinhua)

(Editor: LIU Jia)



Related Articles

artificial intelligence;brain disease;brain demage

China-developed AI Helps Assess Brain Injury Patients

Sep 05, 2018

Chinese researchers and doctors have built an artificial intelligence (AI) model with medical imaging to help determine whether patients with severe brain damage might regain consciousness. China has more than 500,000 patients with chronic DOC caused b...

China Brain Project;brain disease;Mu-Ming Poo;neuroscience

China Brain Project to Launch Soon, Aiming to Develop Effective Tools for Early Diagnosis of Brain Diseases

Jun 17, 2016

China Brain Project, which focuses on the study of basic mechanisms underlying cognitive functions of the brain, early diagnosis and intervention of brain diseases, and brain-machine intelligence technology, will start operation soon, said Mu-Ming Poo,...

autism;gene;brain disease

Chinese Researchers Identify New Autism Risk Gene

Aug 30, 2018

Chinese researchers have discovered the functions of a gene that regulates brain functions and that its deficiency can potentially cause autism. The serine/threonine kinase PAK2 is an enzyme encoded by the PAK2 gene. It plays a key role in cytoskeleton...

Contact Us

Copyright © 2002 - Chinese Academy of Sciences