Just received the newsletter from WCG, which is about a new project – Help Fight Childhood Cancer. This project aims to find a therapy which helps to cure a severe childhood cancer – neuroblastoma.
Since I’m clearly no expert in cancer or the related research, I think it’s best to post the entire letter from the WCG team.The following is the fulltext of the newsletter:
You Can Help End Childhood Cancer
Alert to all members of World Community Grid - your donated computer cycle time may now help find a cure for childhood cancers! There is a group of cancers that are particularly loathsome because they normally only strike young children.
Neuroblastoma is one of these cancers, arising in children under the age of two and resulting in a less than 40% survival rate.
While scientists have uncovered the three proteins that enable this cancer to grow, they now need to search the three million drug candidates for a treatment. And your computer can help us complete this search in the next year.
If you are currently contributing and want to check to see if you are contributing to this project, click here. If you are no longer contributing but would like to contribute to this project, please click here.
The cause of neuroblastoma is unknown, but most physicians believe that it is an accidental cell growth that occurs during normal development of the sympathetic ganglia and adrenal glands. It occurs most often during the first two years of a child's life, and has a high risk for disease relapse with survival rates of less than 40 percent.
The rapid advancement of genetic research at Chiba Cancer Center Research Institute holds great promise for treating neuroblastoma. The new Help Fight Childhood Cancer project will use the idle computational power from your computer to identify which of the three million potential drug candidates can inhibit growth of three particular proteins believed to prevent successful treatment via conventional approaches, such as chemotherapy.
"Our promising research will be further advanced by the free computing power we will use from World Community Grid," said Dr. Akira Nakagawara, the principal investigator at the Chiba Cancer Center Research Institute. "It would take us about 100 years using our own computing resources to make progress, but with access to one of the world's largest virtual supercomputers, we estimate to complete this project in two years, and begin laboratory trials."
Dr. Nakagawara recently earned the Princess Takamatsu Cancer Research Fund Prize 2008 for his neuroblastoma research. In his work, he discovered that one protein, TrkB, is expressed at high levels in aggressive neuroblastomas and enhances the tumor cell's growth. World Community Grid will conduct complex chemistry simulations to determine which drug candidates bond to TrkB, as well as the proteins ALK and SCxx, so that those can be tested further in the laboratory. All results will be made available to the general scientific community to advance the field of cancer biology and drug discovery.
For more information about the Help Fight Childhood Cancer Project and other projects running on World Community Grid, please click here.
We sincerely appreciate your wonderful support!
The following is the fulltext of the project introduction:
Project Status and Findings:
Information on the Help Fight Childhood Cancer project may be found on these pages, on the Chiba University Help Fight Childhood Cancer website (Japanese here) and on Chiba Cancer Center's Help Fight Childhood Cancer website (Japanese here). The latest status updates may also be found at this site. To discuss or ask questions about this project, please visit the Help Fight Childhood Cancer Forum.
The mission of the Help Fight Childhood Cancer project is to find drugs that can disable three particular proteins associated with neuroblastoma, one of the most frequently occurring solid tumors in children. Identifying these drugs could potentially make the disease much more curable when combined with chemotherapy treatment.
Neuroblastoma is one of the most common tumors occuring in early childhood and is the most common cause of death in children with solid cancer tumors. If this project is successful, it could dramatically increase the cure rate for neuroblastoma, providing the breakthrough for this disease that has eluded scientists thus far.
Proteins (molecules which are a bound collection of atoms) are the building blocks of all life processes. They also play an important role in the progress of diseases such as cancer.
Scientists have identified three particular proteins involved with neuroblastoma, which if disabled, could make the disease much more curable by conventional methods such as chemotherapy. This project is performing virtual chemistry experiments between these proteins and each of the three million drug candidates that scientists believe could potentially block the proteins involved. A computer program called AutoDock will test if the shape of the protein and shape of each drug candidate fit together and bond in a suitable way to disable the protein.
This work consists of 9 million virtual chemistry experiments, each of which would take hours to perform on a single computer, totaling over 8,000 years of computer time. World Community Grid is performing these computations in parallel and is thus speeding up the effort dramatically. The project is expected to be completed in two years or less.
In an effort to spread the words about WCG, I will include a link to my last post about WCG – here it is: WCG-The Clean Energy Project
WCG Program Status Update:
Total Members: 434,685
Total Devices: 1,212,255
Total Run Time: 227,282 years
Total Members: 2,370
Total Devices: 11,861
Total Run Time: 2,554 years
Me: please see the bottom of the page :)
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