Identification of Therapeutic Targets for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Using PandaOmics - An AI-Enabled Biological Target Discovery Platform

Front Aging Neurosci. 2022 Jun 28;14:914017. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2022.914017. eCollection 2022.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a severe neurodegenerative disease with ill-defined pathogenesis, calling for urgent developments of new therapeutic regimens. Herein, we applied PandaOmics, an AI-driven target discovery platform, to analyze the expression profiles of central nervous system (CNS) samples (237 cases; 91 controls) from public datasets, and direct iPSC-derived motor neurons (diMNs) (135 cases; 31 controls) from Answer ALS. Seventeen high-confidence and eleven novel therapeutic targets were identified and will be released onto ALS.AI ( Among the proposed targets screened in the c9ALS Drosophila model, we verified 8 unreported genes (KCNB2, KCNS3, ADRA2B, NR3C1, P2RY14, PPP3CB, PTPRC, and RARA) whose suppression strongly rescues eye neurodegeneration. Dysregulated pathways identified from CNS and diMN data characterize different stages of disease development. Altogether, our study provides new insights into ALS pathophysiology and demonstrates how AI speeds up the target discovery process, and opens up new opportunities for therapeutic interventions.

Keywords: artificial intelligence; multi-omics; target discovery; target novelty; time machine.