Closed-loop control of cellular functions using combinatory drugs guided by a stochastic search algorithm

Kin Wong Pak, Fuqu Yu, Arash Shahangian, Genhong Cheng, Ren Sun, Chih Ming Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations


A mixture of drugs is often more effective than using a single effector. However, it is extremely challenging to identify potent drug combinations by trial and error because of the large number of possible combinations and the inherent complexity of the underlying biological network. With a closed-loop optimization modality, we experimentally demonstrate effective searching for potent drug combinations for controlling cellular functions through a large parametric space. Only tens of iterations out of one hundred thousand possible trials were needed to determine a potent combination of drugs for inhibiting vesicular stomatitis virus infection of NIH 3T3 fibroblasts. In addition, the drug combination reduced the required dosage by ≈10-fold compared with individual drugs. In another example, a potent mixture was identified in thirty iterations out of a possible million combinations of six cytokines that regulate the activity of nuclear factor kappa B in 293T cells. The closed-loop optimization approach possesses the potential of being an effective approach for manipulating a wide class of biological systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5105-5110
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number13
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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