Feature Selection for Drug Discovery

When it comes to drug discovery, the mechanism of action for a treatment is sometimes poorly understood or not known at all. In these cases, it is important to elucidate the mechanism of action so that the target of the drug is clearly understood to ensure that there will be no adverse effects associated with the treatment. Visikol helps to elucidate the mechanism of action of a drug through its image analysis services, wherein images of multiple different treatment conditions can be compared to controls through a feature selection analysis.

Feature analysis helps to identify the features that contribute to the greatest difference between the treatment and control, or between any two groups to guide future studies into the mechanism of action of a treatment by identifying what features differ between the groups. The process of feature analysis works by starting with the measurement of many different aspects of images from an experiment, such as morphologies and intensities of labelled structures within an image. After that, huge amounts of data are exported, and statistical tools are then utilized to identify the features that contribute to the biggest difference between the groups of interest. This is generally done through an ANOVA F-test.

FEATURE 110.042619.84E-06
FEATURE 27.9938749.36E-05
FEATURE 36.7538060.000386
FEATURE 46.2413730.0007
FEATURE 55.351780.002004

Table 1: Example output of the statistics from a feature analysis showing how significant each feature is in describing the difference between the groups.

Once the most significant features contributing to the differences between the treatments have been identified, researchers can then analyze the most significant features and the reasons behind their contribution to the mechanism of action for a drug. The investigation of the significant features can contribute to further research to ascertain the mechanism of action for the treatment and a more directed feature analysis can be performed to further narrow down the mechanism of action if needed. When the mechanism of action is found, the treatment can be better understood, and any adverse effects that can be caused by the treatment’s mechanism of action can be identified before going into clinical trials. This can help save a lot of time down the line by helping to characterize a treatment and identify any issues before taking a treatment into clinical trials.

Visikol regularly helps researchers by performing feature analysis so that they may gain insight into the features that contribute to the greatest difference between groups. If you believe you may need a similar type of analysis or any other type of image analysis service, please contact Visikol.


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