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Small molecules have been providing medical breakthroughs for human diseases for more than a century. Recently, identifying small molecule inhibitors that target microRNAs (miRNAs) has gained importance, despite the challenges posed by labour-intensive screening experiments and the significant efforts required for medicinal chemistry optimization. Numerous experimentally-verified cases have demonstrated the potential of miRNA-targeted small molecule inhibitors for disease treatment. This new approach is grounded in their posttranscriptional regulation of the expression of disease-associated genes. Reversing dysregulated gene expression using this mechanism may help control dysfunctional pathways. Furthermore, the ongoing improvement of algorithms has allowed for the integration of computational strategies built on top of laboratory-based data, facilitating a more precise and rational design and discovery of lead compounds. To complement the use of extensive pharmacogenomics data in prioritising potential drugs, our previous work introduced a computational approach based on only molecular sequences. Moreover, various computational tools for predicting molecular interactions in biological networks using similarity-based inference techniques have been accumulated in established studies. However, there are a limited number of comprehensive reviews covering both computational and experimental drug discovery processes. In this review, we outline a cohesive overview of both biological and computational applications in miRNA-targeted drug discovery, along with their disease implications and clinical significance. Finally, utilizing drug-target interaction (DTIs) data from DrugBank, we showcase the effectiveness of deep learning for obtaining the physicochemical characterization of DTIs.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur j med chem

Publication Date





Deep learning, Disease implications, Drug discovery, Molecular interactions, microRNA targets