Artificial intelligence methods for polypharmacy and drug-drug interactions

Event Date: 
Tuesday, 21 May, 2019 - 12:00
Marinka Žitnik, PhD, Stanford University

Polypharmacy, the use of drug combinations, is common to treat patients with complex or co-existing diseases. However, a major consequence of polypharmacy is a high risk of adverse side effects, which emerge because of drug-drug interactions, in which activity of one drug changes if taken with another drug. Furthermore, polypharmacy is recognized as an increasingly serious problem in the health care system affecting nearly 15% of the U.S. population and costing more than $177 billion a year in the U.S. alone in treating side effects.

In this talk, I will describe the methodology for large-scale predictive modeling of polypharmacy. We start by capturing molecular, drug, and patient data for all drugs prescribed in the U.S. These data are represented with a massively multimodal network of protein-protein interactions, drug-protein target interactions, and polypharmacy side effects. I will then describe a neural embedding approach that automatically learns how to embed nodes in the multimodal network into a low-dimensional vector space that is optimized for prediction. Here, I will outline key advancements in learning embeddings for networks, with an emphasis on fundamentally new opportunities in computational biology enabled by these advancements. Finally, I will show how we can use the approach to, for the first time, predict safety and side effects of drug combinations and how we can validate predictions in the clinic using real patient data.

About IBMI

Institute for Biostatistics and Medical Informatics (IBMI), formerly Institute for BioMedical Informatics (so still IBMI) was founded by the Faculty of Medicine as a result of a need for a unit which would perform, or coordinate, tasks related to data analysis and providing information, relevant for research in medicine. The programme of the institute, and its development, have been adjusting thorugh time to changes in financing and technological progress, but the basic aim remain the same: to support research in medicine. This is achieved through the following tasks:


Institute for Biostatistics and Medical Informatics
University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Medicine
Vrazov trg 2, 1000 Ljubljana

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