Despite recent advances in bioinformatics, systems biology, and machine learning, the accurate prediction of drug properties remains an open problem. Indeed, because the biological environment is a complex system, the traditional approach-based on knowledge about the chemical structures-can not fully explain the nature of interactions between drugs and biological targets. Consequently, in this paper, we propose an unsupervised machine learning approach that uses the information we know about drug-target interactions to infer drug properties. To this end, we define drug similarity based on drug-target interactions and build a weighted Drug-Drug Similarity Network according to the drug-drug similarity relationships. Using an energy-model network layout, we generate drug communities associated with specific, dominant drug properties. DrugBank confirms the properties of 59.52% of the drugs in these communities, and 26.98% are existing drug repositioning hints we reconstruct with our DDSN approach. The remaining 13.49% of the drugs seem not to match the dominant pharmacologic property; thus, we consider them potential drug repurposing hints. The resources required to test all these repurposing hints are considerable. Therefore we introduce a mechanism of prioritization based on the betweenness/degree node centrality. Using betweenness/degree as an indicator of drug repurposing potential, we select Azelaic acid and Meprobamate as a possible antineoplastic and antifungal, respectively. Finally, we use a test procedure based on molecular docking to analyze Azelaic acid and Meprobamate's repurposing.
Udrescu Lucreţia, Bogdan Paul, Chiş Aimée, Sîrbu Ioan Ovidiu, Topîrceanu Alexandru, Văruţ Renata-Maria, Udrescu Mihai
drug repurposing, drug–drug similarity network, drug–target interactions, molecular docking, network centrality, network clustering