Modern artificial intelligence has grown so complex and advanced that many everyday people are beginning to worry about the prospect of losing their job to a robot or piece of software that can work far more efficiently than a human while demanding less of a paycheck. Despite all the hubbub being raised about the rise of AI, however, little is being said about the positive ways that intelligent machines are supercharging the efforts of modern researchers, especially when it comes to the pharmaceutical industry.
Here's how AI is already helping in the search for new cures through old drugs, and how healthcare professionals expect intelligent machines to keep changing the way they deliver positive solutions to patients.
AI is speeding up drug discovery
One of the most interesting ways that artificial intelligence is coming to shape the modern world is by redefining how we go about pursuing the discovery of new drugs, many of which can save countless lives while generating impressive profits for the researchers who uncovered them. For countless years, the FDA has been tightly regulating research and production centered on new drugs for obvious reasons - allow a researcher to push for a new drug too quickly, for instance, and you could accidentally cause a public health crisis with a bogus product. These days, though, AI is speeding up drug discovery and helping researchers find viable cures for age-old diseases at a record-setting pace.
Medical research naturally produces countless reams of paperwork, and human eyes can only scan so much data in such a limited amount of time. Powerful AI-driven algorithms can crunch huge sums of research in fractions of a second, though, which means that human researchers can expedite the drug discovery process by automating the more mundane, paper-processing aspects of their work.
Beside finding new insights into a disease through the power of AI, medical professionals and researchers can also leverage intelligent machines for productive ends by making them analyze old drug. Older treatment methods which human practitioners have long-since abandoned or grown ignorant of, for instance, can be thoroughly studied by machine learning algorithms which come to alert researchers of new prospective directions for the drug's development to go in. Certain pharma startups like Pharnext are generating a substantial media buzz precisely because they think that they can master the future by looking to the past.
Say goodbye to new drugs
In the future, it's a very real possibility that we can say goodbye to new drugs altogether, as we'll simply re-process and repurpose existing combinations of drugs to make them more effective and personalized towards the patient in question. This will undoubtedly help healthcare professionals save money on professional liability insurance costs. In order to achieve this, startup companies like Pharnext are pouring huge sums of money into predictive analytics and other AI operations that they hope will produce a more efficient drug pipeline than ever before. Whereas countless patients have been denied treatment in the past because drug companies simply couldn't bring a product to market quick enough to save their lives, many in the future will be saved by the efficiency wrought by the advent of AI.
In Fortune's recent deep dive into Pharnext and how the company is helping pioneer AI technology in the biopharmaceutical industry, the company's founder makes it quite clear that algorithmic means of repurposing existing drugs in order to develop new cures are just around the corner. CEO Daniel Cohen described the way his company intends to map the way that the chain reactions of disease impact the body, noting that AI will be able to come up with more effective drug combinations that attack the harmful cells as they proliferate rather than standing idly by as the patient gets sicker.
It should be of little surprise that AI is helping researchers in the pursuit of new cures with old drugs. After all, medical researchers across the nation and healthcare providers everywhere have been racing to further digitize their operations partly so that AI could come and render things more efficient and patient-focused than ever before. Clinicians around the country are finding themselves equipped with virtual partners who help them diagnose and treat patients more effectively, for instance, so it's only natural that biopharma researchers are also getting a helping hand from some friendly robots when it comes to saving lives. This trend is only going to keep growing, especially since AI technology is proliferating around the globe as it becomes cheaper and easier to master.
In the near-future, age-old diseases and conditions like cancer and countless others will be eliminated not because of the advent of a new drug, but because a new cure has been found through an existing, older form of treatment. AI is supercharging the efforts of researchers in their pursuit of synthesizing new cures with old drugs, and patients who live in fear of intelligent machines will soon discover that such automated programs may be the reason they're alive and well.