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In PloS one ; h5-index 176.0

Computational methods have been widely used in drug design. The recent developments in machine learning techniques and the ever-growing chemical and biological databases are fertile ground for discoveries in this area. In this study, we evaluated the performance of Deep Learning models in comparison to Random Forest, and Support Vector Regression for predicting the biological activity (pIC50) of ALK-5 inhibitors as candidates to treat cancer. The generalization power of the models was assessed by internal and external validation procedures. A deep neural network model obtained the best performance in this comparative study, achieving a coefficient of determination of 0.658 on the external validation set with mean square error and mean absolute error of 0.373 and 0.450, respectively. Additionally, the relevance of the chemical descriptors for the prediction of biological activity was estimated using Permutation Importance. We can conclude that the forecast model obtained by the deep neural network is suitable for the problem and can be employed to predict the biological activity of new ALK-5 inhibitors.

Espinoza Gabriel Z, Angelo Rafaela M, Oliveira Patricia R, Honorio Kathia M