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Swarm Intelligence Simulations as Tools for Molecular Design of Better Medicines

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Swarming insects inspiring drug design

Researchers have designed new software tools that will enhance the engineering of drugs.

Health

Thanks to advances in pharmaceutical research, European citizens can now expect to live up to 30 years longer than a century ago. The modern approach to this research field includes the use of software to design new medicines that are stronger, safer and more targeted for patients' needs. The aim of the EU-funded 'Swarm intelligence simulations as tools for molecular design of better medicines' (SWARMDESIGNTOOLS) project was to improve the accuracy of such drug design software tools. Specifically, it applied a new computing method inspired by how swarming insects cooperate. SWARMDESIGNTOOLS' approach improved on existing methods by predicting a wider and more accurate range of potential structures that form between proteins and small molecules. Two new algorithms for computer simulations were also developed. The new software tools were tested for key chemical reactions frequently used as test cases by the pharmaceutical industry. This research can now be directly applied to medicine, and is in fact currently being used in cancer research in the United Kingdom. Project results should help drive medical progress by giving scientists the tools they need for engineering new therapeutics against disease.

Keywords

Swarming insects, swarm intelligence, molecular design, medicines, drug design

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