Artificial intelligence to help develop new Parkinson’s treatments

A Parkinson’s UK research proposal has won the BenevolentAI Award. The project will now use artificial intelligence to find new treatments for Parkinson’s.

The project, which The Cure Parkinson’s Trust contributed to, was submitted to the inaugural Benevolent AI Award – a competition run with the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC).

Parkinson’s UK’s research proposal, which demonstrated how AI technology could solve specific research challenges in Parkinson’s, was chosen to receive AI-driven research support from BenevolentAI, one of Europe’s largest private AI companies.

The project will use BenevolentAI platform’s capabilities to reason, deduce and suggest entirely new treatments for Parkinson’s. The aim is to identify at least three currently available medicines that can be repurposed to address Parkinson’s, and two brand-new ways to treat the condition with new drugs.

There have been no major breakthroughs in Parkinson’s treatments in the last 50 years. As such, if the project is successful, it would mark a significant advance in the number of options and targets available for further investigation.

Dr Jackie Hunter, CEO BenevolentBio commented: “If we are going to be able to make a breakthrough in Parkinson’s we’re going to need to take a different approach. Through this collaboration, we’re doing that by combining the charities’ extensive knowledge of the disease and our world-leading knowledge graph platform. We’re extremely excited to see if over the next 12 months we’re able to identify new treatments that could reach patients rapidly.”

Professor David Dexter, Deputy Director of Research at Parkinson’s UK, added: “We’re thrilled that our application was successful and are excited to see what this partnership will produce. People with Parkinson’s have waited too long for better treatments and repurposing existing drugs holds huge potential to accelerate our work towards a time when no one fears Parkinson’s.”