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Concentration optimization of combinatorial drugs using Markov chain-based models
Author: Update times: 2021-12-27                          | Print | Close | Text Size: A A A

Background: Combinatorial drug therapy for complex diseases, such as HSV infection and cancers, has a more significant efficacy than single-drug treatment. However, one key challenge is how to effectively and efficiently determine the optimal concentrations of combinatorial drugs because the number of drug combinations increases exponentially with the types of drugs. Results: In this study, a searching method based on Markov chain is presented to optimize the combinatorial drug concentrations. In this method, the searching process of the optimal drug concentrations is converted into a Markov chain process with state variables representing all possible combinations of discretized drug concentrations. The transition probability matrix is updated by comparing the drug responses of the adjacent states in the network of the Markov chain and the drug concentration optimization is turned to seek the state with maximum value in the stationary distribution vector. Its performance is compared with five stochastic optimization algorithms as benchmark methods by simulation and biological experiments. Both simulation results and experimental data demonstrate that the Markov chain-based approach is more reliable and efficient in seeking global optimum than the benchmark algorithms. Furthermore, the Markov chain-based approach allows parallel implementation of all drug testing experiments, and largely reduces the times in the biological experiments. Conclusion: This article provides a versatile method for combinatorial drug screening, which is of great significance for clinical drug combination therapy.


This work is published on BMC Bioinformatics 22.1(2021):1-19.

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