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The assessment of efficient representation of drug features using deep learning for drug repositioning

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Background: De novo drug discovery is a time-consuming and expensive process. Nowadays, drug repositioning is utilized as a common strategy to discover a new drug indication for existing drugs. This strategy is mostly used in cases with a limited number of candidate pairs of drugs and diseases. In other words, they are not scalable to a large number of drugs and diseases. Most of the in-silico methods mainly focus on linear approaches while non-linear models are still scarce for new indication predictions. Therefore, applying non-linear computational approaches can offer an opportunity to predict possible drug repositioning candidates. Results: In this study, we present a non-linear method for drug repositioning. We extract four drug features and two disease features to find the semantic relations between drugs and diseases. We utilize deep learning to extract an efficient representation for each feature. These representations reduce the dimension and heterogeneity of biological data. Then, we assess the performance of different combinations of drug features to introduce a pipeline for drug repositioning. In the available database, there are different numbers of known drug-disease associations corresponding to each combination of drug features. Our assessment shows that as the numbers of drug features increase, the numbers of available drugs decrease. Thus, the proposed method with large numbers of drug features is as accurate as small numbers. Conclusion: Our pipeline predicts new indications for existing drugs systematically, in a more cost-effective way and shorter timeline. We assess the pipeline to discover the potential drug-disease associations based on cross-validation experiments and some clinical trial studies.




Moridi, M., Ghadirinia, M., Sharifi-Zarchi, A., & Zare-Mirakabad, F. (2019). The assessment of efficient representation of drug features using deep learning for drug repositioning. BMC Bioinformatics, 20(1).

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