It is no secret that prices for pharmaceutical drugs are expensive, especially if you do not have great insurance or no insurance at all.
Add to that the fact that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 50% of Americans take at least one prescription medication, with nearly 13% taking five or more medications.
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Now, one company is hoping to significantly lower those drug costs and develop new cancer drugs with AI technology.
The backstory of this new AI technology
OpenAI introduced the now-popular natural language processing tool GPT-3 back in 2020 and released its other popular follow-up ChatGPT in late 2022.
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One of the most interesting features of these products is that they can spit out results on a topic that they previously have not been given any information about. Now, the drug development firm Absci has released a paper stating that they may be able to develop new drugs for cancer using a similar AI model.
They wrote that their AI model was asked to create antibodies against the oncogene HER2, which has been connected to certain breast cancers.
Having been given no prior knowledge about HER2, the AI model was still able to create antibodies without previously being fed any examples of successful antibody designs. The company plans to begin utilizing this AI generative technology in its clinic by 2024.
What is generative AI?
For clarification, generative AI is a subset of artificial intelligence that focuses on creating models or algorithms that can produce new data, such as images or text similar to the data on which the model was trained. In generative AI, the goal is to generate new data that is not simply copied from existing data – instead, it is original and unique.
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How does this translate to you and me? The technology has the potential to dramatically accelerate drug discovery and predict drug efficacy and safety, which can result in significant cost savings.
It also has potential to improve drug manufacturing which can produce drugs more quickly and at a lower cost, which can, in turn, help lower the prices you pay for your prescription medications.
Can this technology be trusted?
The paper released by Absci has not yet been peer-reviewed, so their information must be taken with caution as of now. They also have only gone as far as computer work as of now, and no experimental validation has been completed yet.
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The one factor that might make people hesitate is that the type of AI model that was used to design the antibodies has not yet been released by the company and only describes the antibodies that it resulted in.
All the company will reveal as of now is that it is a generative AI program, which would put it in the same category as ChatGPT and GPT-3. However, this still leaves a ton of room for guessing what specific program they are using. Hopefully, we get more answers before the company starts using it in clinics in 2024.
How of you feel about this new AI technology? Tell us your thoughts.
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