MuSIC by design

A Harvard Medical School and Tsinghua University team has developed a technology, dubbed MuSIC, that identifies synergistic drug pairs.1 The group showed proof of concept by finding new combinations of therapeutics for HIV, but weeding out false negatives could prove challenging.

Finding synergistic drug combinations typically involves either a hypothesis-driven approach or an unbiased pairwise combinatorial screen that uses two compounds per well. The former approach can miss unanticipated interactions between targets not thought to be mechanistically linked, whereas the latter can be too unwieldy for most academic labs.

The HMS-Tsinghua team opted for a different approach called multiplex screening for interacting compounds (MuSIC), which was able to evaluate 10 compounds per well.

The team used MuSIC to examine about 500,000 drug pairs from 1,000 FDA-approved or clinically tested drugs and showed that the

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