Imperial College London partners on AI, imaging to ramp-up drug discovery for heart disease

Researchers from Imperial College London are teaming up with the German-based multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences company Bayer to see if artificial intelligence (AI) could accelerate the discovery of new, effective drugs for cardiovascular disease and other heart related conditions, according to a recent Imperial College London news release.  

As part of three-year project, the team aims to develop machine learning tools to analyze three-dimensional (3D) cardiovascular MRI scans alongside genetic information.  

"This academic-industrial partnership is made possible by innovative inter-disciplinary research that bridges the domains of imaging, machine learning and clinical pharmacology, and reflects Imperial’s dedication in advancing real-world applications of artificial intelligence in medical research,” lead researcher Declan O’Regan, MD, from the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences and Imperial’s Institute of Clinical Sciences, said in a prepared statement.  

The researchers will use imaging and genetic data from the U.K. biobank—an international health resource encompassing data from 500,000 healthy volunteers in the U.K.—to discover key molecular pathways that could be potential drug targets for patients with cardiovascular disease.  

Bayer plans to fund a cross-disciplinary scientist specialized in the areas of genetics, clinical imaging and AI to help with the project, according to the release.  

“Through our collaboration with Imperial College London, we hope to get a more holistic view of the elements leading to heart failure," said Daniel Freitag, head of cardiovascular data sciences at Bayer. “Ultimately, this should help us get a better understanding of the molecular pathways involved in cardiac function, and thereby guide approaches to develop new therapies in this area.”