World’s First Single-cell Sequencing Atlas Available for Drug Discovery in IPF

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by Forest Ray PhD |

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IPF Cell Atlas, the world’s first single-cell sequencing atlas for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), is now available to the public to advance research into new treatments for the condition.

This comprehensive catalogue of the complexity and diversity of 35 distinct cellular populations that are abnormal in IPF patients, is the result of a years-long collaboration between Numedii, the Yale School of MedicineBaylor College of Medicine, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

The catalogue consists of a large repository of single-cell RNA sequencing data. This data includes both the sequence and quantity of each RNA molecule — measures that identify which genes are active and just how active they are, respectively — from a given IPF patient sample.

This information is analyzed by NuMedii’s proprietary Artificial Intelligence for Drug Discovery (AIDD) technology. AIDD employs diverse machine learning techniques such as deep learning, wherein each step of the algorithm is based on what the program “learns” from its previous step.

AIDD analyzes hundreds of millions of curated molecular, pharmacological, and clinical data points to discover and develop both new therapeutic candidates, molecular targets, and biomarkers that can predict the effectiveness of medicines for subsets of patients in a broad spectrum of therapeutic areas, including rare diseases like IPF.

The technology was designed to eliminate the development of treatment unlikely to work, and to fast track efficacious new therapies, ultimately improving patient outcomes.

The collaboration is led by two of the world’s leading experts in interstitial lung disease: Naftali Kaminsky, MD, professor of internal medicine and chief of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine at Yale School of Medicine, and Ivan O. Rosas, MD, a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and associate professor at Harvard Medical School.

The atlas was published in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances and the data are publicly available here.

“The opportunity to apply NuMedii’s AI-driven technology to such a rich dataset has fostered a greater understanding of the mechanisms driving lung fibrosis and greatly augmented our IPF therapeutic discovery programs,” Heather Arnett, PhD, vice president of research at NuMedii, said in a press release.

“We thank the researchers in Ivan and Naftali’s laboratories who brought this immense project to fruition, as well as the patients and their families for their contributions to science. There is no doubt that this work will advance the development of new ways to treat this fatal lung disease,” Arnett said.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, of the National Institutes of Health, and Three Lakes Partners provided additional funding for this project.