August 31, 2023
Forbes: In some ways, virology and pathology have implications for how we are going to benefit from the fruits of AI. For example, the accumulated data can be useful in any number of ways. Adding to what we have already seen on medical applications, there’s more from David K. Gifford, an MIT professor and CEO of a company called Think Therapeutics, which pioneers some of the types of research he’s talking about, including both genetics and immunology. Or rather, the intersection of those two disciplines.
“What drug has saved the most lives throughout history?” Gifford asks. “Now, you might think, penicillin or an antibiotic, right? That’s obvious. Not so. Vaccines as a drug class have saved more lives throughout history than any other drug class: A billion lives and counting.”
Referring to “killer T-cells,” he shows us a video of one attacking some other cell by stabbing wildly at its surface, while also introducing models for working with an epitope, the part of an antigen molecule that an antibody attaches to, and alleles, variations in the sequencing of nucleotides in a long DNA molecule.
“The design system,” says Gifford, “introduces methods for designing new peptide vaccines, evaluating existing vaccines, and augmenting existing vaccine designs. In this system, peptides are scored through machine learning by their ability to be displayed to elicit an immune response, and are then selected to maximize population coverage of who could benefit from the vaccine.”
Closing out the presentation, Gifford brings the focus to a broader use of AI in this field:
“AI provides novel medical solutions,” he says. “It’s just beginning, not only for vaccines, but for other kinds of therapeutic modalities… it’s a very exciting time.”
Read the complete Forbes article here.