Leveraging Artificial Intelligence for Studying and Treating Parkinson’s Disease


Drugs that aim to treat Parkinson’s disease (PD) have not fared well in clinical trials, suggesting that there is more to PD than we currently understand. The availability of patient cells offers a great opportunity to test potential drugs, but first, it is essential to define which ‘diseased’ characteristics of the cell we want the drugs to reverse. 

In a new pre-print in bioRxiv, NYSCF scientists, in collaboration with Google Research, introduces an unbiased, artificial-intelligence-driven platform to identify cellular characteristics of disease, opening the door for discovering effective PD drugs. The platform was able to distinguish between images of PD patient cells and healthy controls, and it could predict fairly accurately which donor a cell came from. It is the first tool to accomplish this feat, and holds the promise to unearth new disease features that could accelerate drug development and precision medicine across a variety of diseases.

This work is the culmination of our years of collaboration with Google Research, aimed at applying their world-leading image analysis methods to cellular images generated by NYSCF’s state-of-the-art automation technologies including the NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array®. These automated tools ensure that the enormous datasets produced by the platform are reproducible, and pairing NYSCF’s technologies with Google’s AI has proven to be an especially powerful combination.

Please note that this study is a pre-print and has not yet been peer reviewed.

Deep learning and automated Cell Painting reveal Parkinson’s disease-specific signatures in primary patient fibroblasts
Lauren Schiff, Bianca Migliori, Ye Chen, Deidre Carter, Caitlyn Bonilla, Jenna Hall, Minjie Fan, Edmund Tam, Sara Ahadi, Brodie Fischbacher, Anton Geraschenko, Christopher J. Hunter, Subhashini Venugopalan, Sean DesMarteau, Arunachalam Narayanaswamy, Selwyn Jacob, Zan Armstrong, Peter Ferrarotto, Brian Williams, Geoff Buckley-Herd, Jon Hazard, Jordan Goldberg, Marc Coram, Reid Otto, Edward A. Baltz, Laura Andres-Martin, Orion Pritchard, Alyssa Duren-Lubanski, Kathryn Reggio, NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array Team, Lauren Bauer, Raeka S. Aiyar, Elizabeth Schwarzbach, Daniel Paull, Scott A. Noggle, Frederick J. Monsma Jr., Marc Berndl, Samuel J. Yang, Bjarki Johannesson. bioRxiv. November 16, 2020. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.11.13.380576

Diseases & Conditions:

Parkinson's Disease